By Neil Durham
WORTH A LOOK?: *****
TRACKLIST: No Small Thing; The Tipping Point; Long, Long, Long Time; Break The Man; My Demons; Rivers Of Mercy; Please Be Happy; Master Plan; End Of Night; Stay
It wasn’t supposed to be like this – in February 2019 we saw Tears For Fears for the 1st time ever live at The 02 and we explained then that we were far from die-hard fans.
- Read on for reasons including how and where to see the band on tour in 2022
Nearly 3 years later and the band’s 1st new single in 13 years, the title track of this 1st new album in 18 years, was a song of the month for us.
We said: ‘The good news is that, although The Tipping Point takes a while to grow, repeat listens do reward the listener revealing a complicated guitar-based track ornamented by seemingly many other instruments which builds into something really quite moving.’
For us this album is the band at its most consistently brilliant since arguably the biggest of its 7 studio albums, Songs From The Big Chair, released on 25 February 1985, 37 years to the day before The Tipping Point.
The signs were good with the release of 2 tracks before this long-player, the refreshingly different guitar strum of No Small Thing, a protest song observing ‘Freedom is no small thing’ at a time of conflict in Europe, and Break the Man, treading lyrically familiar pro-women ground for the band but cast in a new light in 2022 post Me Too.
The 10-song set reminds of those days in the 80s when albums rarely outstayed their welcome and were distilled to their essence rather than being swelled as now by bonus tracks detracting from the core of what can make a collection of songs truly exceptional.
Of the remaining songs special mention must go to the unexpected uptempo My Demons which seems to be a real plea for help: ”Cause these human hands need a human touch, ‘Cause my demons don’t get out that much.’
We’ve written previously about how the death of Portsmouth-born lead singer Roland Orzabal’s wife Caroline in 2017 feels part of this record even if it is not intentional. Please Be Happy feels particularly raw yet accessible.
Master Plan feels suitably bold and bombastic referencing the ‘Beatles and the Stones’. Its plea to: ‘Heal me now because things ain’t working out’ can’t help but resonate. ‘You need a lot of rage to get by these days’ also rings tragically true.
We’ve also written previously about how the band’s previous management wanted Orzabal to collaborate with new writers and how that was a request that Tears For Fears essentially decided against, choosing instead to try to hark back to what initially brought them success.
Not only have they succeeded in doing so but they’ve convinced this reviewer that this album deserves a place in your hearts as gigantic as those songs from the big chair.
The best album of 2022 so far.