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CD review - Roland Orzabal

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by Tiina Teal


The title of this album is somewhat misleading, gracing us with exactly the opposite of the proposed experience, but perhaps also symbolizing how many of us in the world are feeling at this moment.


Tomcats Screaming Outside is a beautiful album from the former singer/songwriter of Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal. But don't expect an '80s-sounding revival on this offering. Indeed, Tomcats possesses the familiar, from-the-guts vocals, open emotionalism and pop-at-its-best sensibilities that has run through the catalog of his past work with the group. However, here he revolutionizes his sound with the use of electronics, building a foundation upon which he layers chiming, sitar-like rock guitars with slinky, throbbing bass lines to create a cinematic backdrop for his poignant lyrics. Spaciousness and grandiose song structures abound, along with socially conscious writing on songs like "Bullets for Brains" and "Hypnoculture." Touches of drum and bass alight here and there, adding a hypnotic and trance-like feel.


But the strength of this release lies in his ability to draw listeners inward and mindfully upward. Orzabal's tortured voice and flexible musicianship have resulted in a diverse collection of songs worthy of contemplation and composed of sheer aural pleasure.