TEARS FOR FEARS -- Raoul and the Kings of Spain (Epic)

Originally slated for release in July, Tears For Fears leader Roland Orzabal took advantage of an option in his contract with Mercury and moved the new CD, "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" to Epic/Sony Music. The label change prompted the addition of two new songs -- "Humdrum and Humble" and "I Choose You". Co-written & co-produced by Orzabal, the new CD is their best since 1989's "The Seeds of Love".

The new CD is the second release since the well-publicized split with original member, Curt Smith. Several of the tracks were written and performed live on the band's last tour. Orzabal said "Raoul" was "a very easy album to make" and that they were able to lay down tracks "after just three or four takes".

"Raoul" offers plenty to keep the listener's interest. "Sketches of Pain' (the title being a twist on Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain"), with its flourishes of flamenco guitar is one of the many highlights on the CD. From "Falling Down" (which sounds remarkably like "What Goes Up" from The Alan Parsons Project's "Pyramid" album), to the raucous "Don't Drink the Water", this is a CD that gets better with each listen.

Another high point on the CD is the return of Oleta Adams, who contributes vocals on "Me and My Big Ideas". Originally discovered by Orzabal in a Kansas City nightclub during the recording of "The Seeds of Love", Adams' soulful vocals were sorely missing from the band's last album, "Elemental". Hopefully, she'll be able to tour with the band in support of the new CD. She adds an incredible warmth to the band's music.

"Raoul and the Kings of Spain" is a fine effort, one of the best from the band. If this CD is any indication of things to come, we can look forward to a long and fruitful musical career from Orzabal and Tears For Fears.

© 1995 Steve Marshall