7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Roland Returns; Proves Again How Great He Really Is.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Tomcats Screaming Outside (Audio CD)
Roland Orzabal returns after a six year hiatus between his last release, Tears For Fears' "Raoul and the Kings of Spain", and "Tomcats Screaming Outside." This new album, although issued under his own name, shares virtually the same lineup as the last two Tears For Fears albums. "Tomcats..." is an impressively eclectic blend of pop, techno, trip-hop, ambience, and rock. I would have to say that if "Tomcats..." were to resemble any particular album in the TFF cannon, it would have to be 1993's "Elemental." Like that album, each track on "Tomcats..." sounds different than the one before it, but also has a certain cohesiveness due to Orzabal's unique hands-on production. Unlike many electronically based albums, the songs are what matter here, not the samples. But this isn't news for anyone who has followed Orzabal through his career - the songs have always been of the penultimate importance to him. "Bullets For Brains" combines a classic Orzabalian melody and lyric with some interesting analogue synths and sonic experiments. "Day By Day By Day By Day By Day" is one of the best songs Orzabal has released in years... the production lends itself perfectly with the moody atmospheres of the melody, and the electronic nature of the arrangement doesn't hinder the song's effects in the slightest. "Hypnoculture" is, in the least, a very interesting sonic risk for Orzabal - combining African chants with a funk-bass and swirling keyboard riff. At best, its completely original, gloriously infectious and hypnotic. "For the Love of Cain" is the most 'pop' song here... one of those instant-classic-sounding pieces full of summer sun that Orzabal is so wonderful at effortlessly creating. Overall, this is a fantastic effort from an artist unduly ignored by the industry - each song here touches a different nerve, and compounds to form an entertaining, engaging listen. But "Tomcats Screaming Outside" proves most of all that Roland Orzabal is still a vital and creative artist, who is not even close to being "dried out" of ideas and inventive things to say. With this album, Roland Orzabal may not have necessarily created the best album of his career, but it is certainly his most enjoyable.