Curt Smith Halfway, Pleased

In any famous twosome someone always has to end up the Oates, or the Garfunkel, or the Ridgely, and, somehow, Curt Smith played second fiddle to Roland Orzabal in Tears for Fears. Though not a Tears for Fears apologist, I’m sure that someone out there always felt Curt Smith deserved more credit than was given for that band’s career. Well, with this surprisingly lush solo album those Smith fans may finally feel vindicated. While Smith doesn’t stray too far from Tears for Fears’ sound, he does show a lovely penchant for electronic tones and drum samples. Most of the tracks here end up with an undulating beat or even more tweaks, as on the soul-tinged "Aeroplane.” The songs all have a foot in British melodic pop, even skewing blue-eyed soul, but it’s the electronic flourishes that make this more than pap. Beware, though, as Smith is slightly mawkish, with shots of his daughters and the bloated, self-indulgent "Addict.” But, really, take the comma out of the title and it’s pretty accurate. (XIII Bis)