Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tears For Fears 7: Saturnine Martial & Lunatic

Before the expanded CD reissue became ubiquitous, the rarities album was the common (not to mention cheapest) method for gathering various castoffs outside of a band’s more easily acquirable releases. The Smiths, Elvis Costello and R.E.M. are just a few artists whose “B-sides” albums rank up with their better work, but the arithmetic doesn’t always compute for everyone.
Saturnine Martial & Lunatic arrived at an odd time for Tears For Fears fans, released by the label that dropped them before another label released the album they’d finished, which didn’t exactly set the world on simmer. And while TFF had amassed a pile of rarities over the years, there’s usually a reason why something is a B-side. For example, “The Big Chair” isn’t the lost title track from that album, but an instrumental experiment featuring sound bites from the movie Sybil, which inspired it. A little better is “When In Love With A Blind Man”, but only because it shares a melody and piano part with “The Working Hour”. “Pharaohs” seems like another odd experiment, but turns out to be a slow instrumental of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” with a shipping forecast on top.
A third of the tracks come from the Roland-only era, like “New Star”, even made it to a movie soundtrack. And it wouldn’t be a rarities collection without wacky covers—in this case, “Sad Song” by Robert Wyatt and Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” in a carbon copy. But by including some very self-deprecating liner notes and ending with “The Way You Are”, a top 30 single they didn’t even include on their hits album because they hated it so much, the overall mood here is an album that can be left aside.

Tears For Fears Saturnine Martial & Lunatic (1996)—2

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