New Wave legends Tears for Fears surprised fans with their first new recording in nine years: a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start.”
It might be crazy to call a band with 16 U.K. Top 40 hits “underrated,” but Tears for Fears – to this writer – have only seemed to earn the respect they truly deserve in recent times. In the last decade, Gary Jules and Michael Andrews had a U.K. chart-topper with a mournful cover of the band’s “Mad World,” as featured in the cult classic Donnie Darko; Patti Smith covered signature tune “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” for a covers project in 2005, while Kanye West’s polarizing masterpiece 808s & Heartbreak closed out with a sample of a TFF deep cut on “Coldest Winter.”
Tears for Fears’ core partnership, singer/guitarist Roland Orzabal and singer/bassist Curt Smith, united once again this year to work on a new album (their first since 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending) and commemorate the 30th anniversary of debut LP The Hurting with a deluxe reissue in October. The first fruits of their rekindled partnership, released last night, represent a thank-you note to all those artists who wore their TFF love on their sleeves.
While the single cover features the same font as the sleeve for The Hurting, Tears for Fears’ take on “Ready to Start” recalls the band’s transition away from dark synthpop to panoramic rock as heard on 1985’s breakthrough Songs from the Big Chair. Orzabal’s keening tenor and Smith’s introspective tones are heard in equal measure, and their faithful take on the 2010 track recalls the same sort of runaway energy as the original recording.
All in all, Tears for Fears’ “Ready to Start” is a satisfying refresher from a band who, now and then, deserve the respect of pop/rock enthusiasts from all over.