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  • Muzik First

NEW ALBUM: TEARS FOR FEARS | THE TIPPING POINT

Eighteen years since Tears for Fears was released, "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" has been especially rough on Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith at times. Orzabal's wife died in 2017, forcing the duo to pull out of some live dates and work on their seventh album, "The Tipping Point," which began nearly ten years ago before a frustrated Smith temporarily left the group. There's even an eagerness in these ten songs, starting with the stripped-down and slow-building "No Small Thing," to reboot and reshape Tears for Fears as something both familiar and evolving. They are setting up a theme for an album that explores mental illness, moving on and mortality. The death of Orzabal's wife of 35 years certainly has a part here, but just as often, Orzabal and Smith take stock of their often fractious relationship. The music usually reflects knotty and dark subjects from folk-rock to art-rock to synth-pop. It's not exactly what you'd expect from Tears for Fears at times, though the title track and "End of Night," as well as a handful of other songs, dive head-first into the "Big Chair" era's new wave grandeur. But even these moments offer small reminders that "The Tipping Point" has larger aspirations in mind. Acoustic guitars and accordions blend into the synths and programmed percussion in this landscape, never making the easiest connection to the past, which is the point. Highlight "Break the Man" isn't too far removed from "Woman in Chains" – 30 years on, we still have a long way to go – but the path isn't exactly straightforward either. There are some tricky turns to navigate with the band before there's a comfortable resting point.