This Tears for Fears album is a real desert island disc for me. When you get a big, rich, smooth copy such as this one, the short list of problems with the recording don’t interfere with the music. Like good stereo equipment, a good record lets you forget all that audio stuff and just listen to the music as music.
The Seeds Of Love is the band’s masterpiece, and hearing it this way is nothing short of a THRILL.
The sound of most copies is aggressive, hard, harsh and thin. What do you expect? The album is recorded digitally and direct metal mastered at Masterdisk. Most of us analog types put up with the limitations of the sound because we love the music, some of the most powerfully moving, brilliantly written and orchestrated psychedelic pop of the last thirty years. Imagine if the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper/ Magical Mystery Tour phase kept going in that direction. They very well might have ended up in the neighborhood of Sowing the Seeds of Love.
But wait — both sides here have smooth, sweet, analog richness and spaciousness I didn’t think was possible for this recording. The bass is full and punchy. When it really starts cooking, such as in the louder, more dynamic sections of Woman in Chains or the title cut, it doesn’t get harsh and abrasive like most copies. It’s got energy and life without making your ears bleed.
I have a long history with this kind of Art Rock, stretching all the way back to the early ’70s. I grew up on Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Supertramp, Yes and the like, bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the constraints of the conventional pop song. When I discovered these Arty Rocker bands in my early twenties, they quickly became favorites of mine and remain so to this day.
When it comes to genre busting Psychedelic Art Rock, I put this album right up at the top of the heap, along with several other landmark albums from the Seventies: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Roxy Music’s first, Sheet Music, Crime of the Century, Ambrosia’s first two releases, The Yes Album, Fragile, Dark Side of the Moon and a handful of others.
My equipment was forced to evolve in order to be able to play the scores of challenging recordings issued by these groups and others in the ’70s. Tears For Fears on this and their previous album continue that tradition of big-as-life and just-as-difficult-to-reproduce recordings. You could say that these albums informed not only my taste in music but the actual stereo I play that music on. I’ve had large dynamic speakers for the last four decades, precisely because they do such a good job bringing to life huge and powerful records such as these.
Robbie McIntosh, Guitar God
Check out Robbie McIntosh’s leads on some of these tracks, especially Bad Man’s Song on side one. His work here, as well as with McCartney (Unplugged), and as a member of The Pretenders for two of the best albums they ever made (Learning to Crawl and Get Close) put him in the company of the All Time Greats, unsung though he may be.