Picks and Pans Review: The Seeds of Love

updated 11/13/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/13/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Tears for Fears

This English band has undergone a remarkable, Pinocchio-like transformation. Somewhere in the four years between their multiplatinum LP Songs from the Big Chair and The Seeds of Love, they mutated from a stark, machine-tooled sound to one that is warmly human.

The synth-pop duo has eliminated the synthesizers and replaced them with piano, guitars, manual drumming (did you ever think you'd see the day when that distinction would be necessary?) and a female chorus. The songwriting is also more soulful. For instance, "Badman's Song" is the sort of thing Hall and Oates, as backed up by Little Feat, might do. The radical change of direction has worked for Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, most notably on the lustrously beautiful anthem "Woman in Chains" and the title track, the huff-and-puff verse of which recalls the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus."

The boys lapse from their new robust approach at times, reverting to a tendency to sound postured and mawkish. Songs such as "Standing on the Corner of the Third World" exemplify this wimpy quality. But cut them a break. The Tears for Fears guys are out to remake themselves. They put some blood in their music this time. Maybe next time they'll add muscle. (Fontana/Polygram)

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