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Tears for Fears: Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

With the success of the Gary Jules remake of Tears for Fears' "Mad World," the timing couldn't be more perfect for the group's reunion record. The question, though, is whether in these days of indie-rock minimalism, the band's heavily produced pop excursions will be embraced by an audience with an ever-decreasing attention span. Judging from this sumptuous-sounding return, the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith just might force listeners to take notice. The disc overflows with melodies and musical invention and over the course of an hour, TFF takes you on a richly imagined sonic journey. Much of this bears resemblance to the latter years of the duo's work and the records Orzabal released under the Tears for Fears moniker without Smith in the mid-'90s. The tunes are expansive and colorful from the opening, Beatle-esque title track and the glistening, hit-single-waiting-to-happen "Closest Thing to Heaven," to the gorgeously arranged and executed "Who Killed Tangerine?" TFF produced the disc with Charlton Pettus and they rely heavily on the soaring harmonies and washes of keyboards that marked their best '80s work. Orzabal sings with gravity and purpose on "Size of Sorrow," and on "Killing With Kindness" the group manages to deal with deeply charged emotions without drowning in empty grandiosity. They may not rule the pop world as they once did, but TFF sow the seeds for a successful comeback here.

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