This is a review of "Footprints in the Sand" recorded by Fountainhead. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
Bethany Dowsett sings with a Stevie Nicks' catch to her voice and Tom Stupple plays very good guitar in sympathetic acoustic straightforwardness. Discrete percussion is added from time to time. Fountainhead are sort of a folk duo, but in a Suzanne Vega way rather than a Norma Waterson way. They do a cover of Ms Vega's "The Queen and the Soldier" alongside ten of their own compositions and it is to Fountainhead's credit that Vega's song is no better or worse than any of their own.
The songs in general have a misty-eyed transluscene, evoking wafty dresses and sea strands at evening time. Titles run the gamut of "Rooftops", "Rainbow Arch", "Breathe". "Fresh Rain" and "To the Ocean ..". There's a pattern there that says most of what you would want to know about the music. "Footprints in the Sand" is a fitting title for teh collection. Human, interesting, suggestive of something or someone that has been and gone. But ultimately, wiped clean away by bigger things.
There's no point complaining about this album. It's perfectly fine. The problem is the concept. One voice, one guitar, some yearning and vague emotions of loss, fragility, sensitivity and desire . it is a very crowded field. I can report no outstanding features that would make you want to buy this CD rather than any of hundreds of others. You will buy it because you know the people, or because you have met their music at first hand. As a promoter you will be more than happy to book Fountainhead onto your acoustic night, and the audience will sway contentedly to their pretty tunes. They are pretty tunes, no doubt about it. Some will be enraptured by Bethany's clear crystal voice.
As raw material for a more aggressive or innovative production, Fountainhead's songs could well be in a different league though. "Alive" rocks a little, and while it does so in very conventional ways it does suggest the wider possibilities. With Simon and Garfunkel back on tour, it's nice to see Dowsett and Stupple using the phrase "sound of silence" in two of their songs.