Roland Orzabal carried on the Tears for Fears name here for his second virtually solo outing. The studio goodness and broad stadium soft rock sound warmer here than the sometimes plodding "Elemental". Orzabal has a powerful voice, can certainly write songs, and puts his guitar pings in exactly the right places. As shown by the opening title track, where he engages in a bit of cryptic personal therapy to a pumping tune. Elsewhere there's big-chorus rockers include the fast-moving "Humdrum and Humble" and the whirl of "Sorry", among more ordinary stuff like "God's Mistake" and "Don't Drink the Water".
He evidently still has a flair for richly-arranged ballads, which are sometimes on the podgy side, like "Secrets". But he's most successful where he lets the music breathe, as on "I Choose You" the particularly haunting "Sketches of Pain", including as gratuitous but attractive aside into flamenco guitar. "Los Reyes Católicos" is a good little idea, recalling "Songs from the Big Chair" with that unmistakeable spacey, minimalist sound. He even likes it enough to play it twice.
October 12, 2004