published: 12 /
Ambitious first album in eighteen years from seminal 80's synth pop group Tears For Fears which finds them convincingly breaking into new territory
Tears For Fears could have played the nostalgia card on 'The Tipping Point', their first album in eighteen years. As stalwarts of the 1980s pop scene, it would have been so easy for them to just “re-imagine” some of their old songs like 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' or 'Shout”'and then follow-up with a legacy tour. But Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith who were always the nucleus of the group have never wanted to see themselves defined by a particular era or decade. They have shunned the heritage circuit – and the quality of tracks on 'The Tipping Point' vindicates this decision.
The new release shows why so many more recent cutting-edge acts (like The Weeknd or Drake and Lorde) have covered or sampled Tears For Fears' music.
Orzabel and Smith, both now sixty and from Bath, Somerset originally, have not had an easy time of late. Previous attempts at modernising their sound and involving younger musicians didn't work out and Roland has had to contend with losing his wife Caroline who died in 2017 after a long illness. The title track and the heart-wrenching 'Please Be Happy' were written by Roland as he watched his wife's condition worsen. It would be hard not to be moved by the raw emotion flowing from his deep anguish. But 'The Tipping Point' is far from a gloomy record. There are ambitious arrangements and catchy choruses from guitarist Roland and bassist Curt and both of them sing and play keyboards to great effect.
Whilst Tears For Fears songs in the 1980s were usually either sombre electronic numbers like 'Mad World' or big, powerful songs like 'The Seeds Of Love', the new album's opener 'No Small Thing' is neither.....with lines like “Take a trip to America/Let the wind blow right through your hair..” it is joyous and harks right back to 1970s-style folk-rock. The title track addresses the fragility of life against a rhythmic backdrop that will remind fans of the synth-driven shuffle of 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World'. It is a classic Tears For Fears mix of emotional heft and pop accessibility. 'Rivers of Mercy' with its police siren and the sound of an exploding tear gas cannister, is a very polite protest song whilst 'Master Plan' is a melodic dig at a former manager and 'Break The Man' addresses sexual inequality. Wolverhampton vocalist Carina Round guests on 'Long, Long, Long Time' and her beautiful harmonies add fresh layers to the duo's vocals.
Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith say they have spent seven years getting 'The Tipping Point' just right. It was worth it....the new album is really very good.
No Small Thing
The Tipping Point
Long, Long, Long Time
Break The Man
Rivers Of Mercy
Please Be Happy
End Of Night
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