Tears For Fears – The Seeds of Love & Songs From the Big Chair

The Seeds of Love may not be Tears For Fears biggest commercial success, but it’s the most meticulously crafted album produced by the duo comprised of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. As well as it should be, having been made on a budget of one million pounds.  Combining a wide range of musical styles, The Seeds of Love has a slower, more deliberate pace than its predecessor, Songs From The Big Chair.

The gold standard is the UK Fontana pressing, but the US version is not far behind in terms of clarity and bass slam. The extra low-level information captured on the former version shows off the delicate layers of the compositional elements in a most exquisite fashion. Of course, this comes at a premium, with pristine UK copies fetching up to $75, and good-condition copies selling for about half that. The elusive Japanese vinyl appears on EBay and the like occasionally, and demands $100 and up. The US version is equally tough to find in record stores, but can usually be located on various auction sites for $15-$40. Caveat emptor.

Mobile Fidelity performed commendably on this new edition, bringing the classic to market in perfect shape for $22.95. The bottom end is well sorted and the hallmark MoFi quality is here in spades. Our test sample is flat, quiet, and centered, and features excellent reproduction of the original artwork.

As this is a Silver Label title, the original master is not guaranteed (as it is in the Original Master series), and the records are pressed on 140g vinyl. Direct comparison to UK and US originals reveal more smoothness in the upper registers, suggesting it was cut either from a high-resolution digital copy or perhaps a safety master.  This trait is most evident in the quietest passages, such as the beginning of “Swords and Knives” and “Famous Last Words.” The original vinyl sounds bigger, with more sparkle and clarity. Tunes with less dynamic range make it tougher to distinguish between the original and the remaster. So, unless you can be assured a perfect original, the Silver Label LP is the way to go. Grading these on a numerical scale, with a mint UK original at 100 and an immaculate US original 95, the Silver Label ranks 91. Pretty damn good.

Songs From the Big Chair equates to more of a toss-up. Utilizing a low-numbered US pressing for comparison, the Silver Label easily comes out on top in terms of a smoother high end, but the original has more low-frequency energy with bigger, punchier dynamics. The former sounds smoother, yet it’s a bit veiled. I still prefers the original. As it’s Tears for Fears’ biggest-selling record, you can get a clean one for about six bucks if you look hard. -Jeff Dorgay

Mobile Fidelity Silver Series LP