Tomcats Screaming Outside

Best-known as half of the hit-making '80s British duo Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal comes into his own on his latest solo effort.

Best-known as half of the hit-making '80s British duo Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal comes into his own on his latest solo effort. This modern rock set may not be as distinctly groundbreaking as his former band's seminal debut, The Hurting, but it's solid, consistent, and accessible. While the producers prefer slick arrangements that favor power over subtlety, they largely manage to avoid the overproduction that plagued later Tears for Fears releases. Album opener "Ticket to the World" kicks things off right with the artist's octave-leaping, siren-like voice, underscored by David Sutton's nimble bass work. Other standouts include "Low Life"—one of the set's relatively spare pieces of electronica—and the moody, intense "Under Ether," on which Orzabal displays unusual vocal restraint.—WH