More Tears For Fears
More Art Rock
- A superb vintage UK copy of the band’s masterpiece – we guarantee the sound is dramatically bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any pressing you have ever heard, and on this record that is saying a LOT
- A tough record to find in audiophile playing condition – copies without audible marks were not easy to come by
- The band’s Magnum Opus, a Colossal Production to rival the greatest Prog, Psych and Art Rock recordings of all time (Whew!)
- 4 stars: “Thanks to the duo’s uncompromising stubbornness, expansive creative vision, and Dave Bascombe’s final production, The Seeds of Love has dated better than either of its predecessors and is inarguably Tears for Fears’ masterpiece.”
When it comes to Genre Busting Rock I put this album right up at the top of the heap, along with several other landmark albums from the Seventies: Roxy Music’s first, The Original Soundtrack, Crime of the Century, Ambrosia’s first two releases, The Yes Album, Fragile, Dark Side of the Moon and a handful of others.
The Seeds Of Love is clearly the band’s masterpiece, and being able to hear it on a White Hot Stamper pressing is nothing short of a THRILL.
I have a long history with this style of Popular Music, stretching all the way back to the early ’70s. I grew up on Bowie, Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Peter Gabriel, Supertramp, Yes, Zappa and others, individuals and bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the constraints of the conventional pop song. Nothing on Sowing the Seeds of Love fits the description of a Conventional Pop Song.
Which albums by The Beatles break all the rules? Side two of Abbey Road and the whole of The White Album, which is why both are Desert Island Discs for me. Can’t get enough of either one.
What the Best Sides of The Seeds Of Love Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1989
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The Discovery of a Lifetime
When I discovered these arty rock bands in my early twenties I quickly became obsessed with them and remain so to this day.
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. 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 of bringing to life huge and powerful recordings such as these.
Tears For Fears on this and their previous album continue that tradition of big-as-life and just-as-difficult-to-reproduce records. God bless ’em for it.
What We’re Listening For on The Seeds Of Love
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
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 — the best pressings 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 — if you have the system to play it.
A Must Own Pop Record
We consider this Tears for Fears album their Masterpiece.
It’s a recording that should be part of any serious Popular Music Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Woman In Chains
Bad Man’s Song
Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Advice For The Young At Heart
Standing On The Corner Of The Third World
Swords And Knives
Year Of The Knife
Famous Last Words
AMG 4 Star Review
Along with the mega-platinum Songs from the Big Chair, The Seeds of Love rendered Tears for Fears one of the ’80s most successful pop groups. The album was created during a profound period of catharsis. Curt Smith was going through a divorce while Roland Orzabal was in primal therapy. Musically, it’s their most sophisticated outing, and it should be: It took four years, four producers, and over a million pounds to complete.
The duo sought to distance themselves from the synth pop of their earlier records in favor of a more organic approach using live musicians. Included in this all-star cast are Kate St. John, Jon Hassell, Robbie Macintosh, and Ian Stanley.
Orzabal began writing in 1985 with touring keyboardist Nicky Holland and continued in London in 1986. Their collaboration netted half the album’s tracks, including “Bad Man’s Song.” Due to outside pressures, Smith’s only co-writing credit is the soaring title track, though he played, sang, and advised on all charts and mixes. The album’s Muse is American vocalist/pianist Oleta Adams. Orzabal caught her set in a hotel bar in 1985 and asked her two years later to duet on the transcendent album-opener “Woman in Chains.” It set the tone for the entire proceeding. (The glorious drumming on the cut is by Phil Collins.) Adams also contributed gospel vocals to “Bad Man’s Song,” which features a Holland piano intro strongly suggestive of Weather Report’s “Birdland.”
The presence of drummer Manu Katche and bassist Pino Palladino underscores it. The production chart for “Sowing the Seeds of Love” borrows heavily from the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus,” but ends up as a spiritual, sociopolitical anthem in its own sonic universe. Smith’s devastatingly beautiful refrain and the brief, seemingly errant entrance of an operatic soprano and a choir, frame the panoramic horns, strings, and Fairlight orchestrations, resulting in one of the duo’s most enduring songs.
On “Advice for the Young at Heart,” Smith’s and Holland’s vocals entwine in a melody grounded in blue-eyed soul, jazz, and elegant pop that recalls the Style Council. Hassell’s fourth world trumpet introduces the lithe “Standing on the Corner of the Third World,” clearing the way for a melody that melds Bacharach-esque pop to folk, rock, and chamber jazz, with riveting singing from Smith and Orzabal. “Swords and Knives” melds squalling prog rock guitar (a la Robert Fripp) to Afro-Latin polyrhythms and orchestral arrangements woven through psych-pop overtones. The rave-up rocker “Year of the Knife” is loaded with effects. Its siren-like strings provide ballast for ripping, multi-tracked guitars, samples, atmospherics, punchy drums, and a soul revue chorus. Closer “Famous Last Words” opens with ambient sounds and a lone piano as Orzabal delivers a love song about mortality. Simon Phillips’ drumming propels wafting strings and a chorale, before they’re stripped away at close.
Thanks to the duo’s uncompromising stubbornness, expansive creative vision, and Dave Bascombe’s final production, The Seeds of Love has dated better than either of its predecessors and is inarguably Tears for Fears’ masterpiece.