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see also... Tears For Fears
Roland Orzabal finally dropped the Tears for Fears moniker for this, which was essentially his third solo album. But there's few big surprises with its sound. It firmly keeps the old Tears for Fears production values of "more is more". This time, produced with Alan Griffiths, he's gone for a more modern sound. The album's constant bubble of techno beats, synths and guitars make for an engaging listen. Although snobs might scoff, and it's no Autechre, it's a spicy addition to Orzabal's familiar power-pop sound.
As we knew, Orzabal can certainly still write a tune, and I wouldn't call any of the songs here weak. Although there is a sense of deja-vu about their big-chorus sound. The podgier moments like "For the Love of Cain", are similar to the blots on the previous two Tears for Fears albums. Again there's a sensitive falsetto-sung ballad "Day By Day...", but this time underlaid by quietly-shifting electronica. Despite the strong writing, the odd recycled melody might cause the pedantic to prick up their ears, e.g. the similarity of "Under Ether" to "Cold". But when the spark gets going he can still whirl us along. To me the album's hottest points are its most deliberately modern. The brief African-sampled toe-tapper "Hypnoculture", and the sputtering electronica-littered "Hey Andy" are vital and compelling tunes.
December 27, 2004