Saturnine Martial & Lunatic
St. Petersburg Times: October 11, 1996
by Eric Deggans
©1996 Times Publishing Company
A friendly warning: don't buy this disc thinking you're going to get a collection of hidden gems from the guys who gave us hits like Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Shout. By their very nature, B-side releases are the also-rans of the rock world; they're the stuff that wasn't good enough to get on a record, but just fun enough to slap on the other side of a hit single that's more likely to sell well. In Tears' case, B-sides are often embryonic, alternate versions of current hits. So the opening percussion parts of Tears Roll Down ape the first bars of Broken and the layered, psychedelic style bombast of Schrodinger's Cat is a less successful Beatles rewrite than Sowing the Seeds of Love. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams likewise steals parts from Sowing, adding soulful female vocals, a funky bassline and a verses from the tune delivered as a rap. For true fans, it can be a revelation - When in Love With a Blind Man shows off an early version of the textured, moody tune Working Hour, while The Body Wah's flowing synthesizer lines and gently percolating percussion parts somehow predate the very different title track of the band's 1994 album Elemental. But this isn't a conventional record in any real sense - it's a cavalcade of flowing soundscapes that feels more like a peek at a really cool artist's sketchbook than an album that stands on its own. For any but the most avid fans it's going to be an acquired taste.
Review Grade: C+