Though Nothing to Fear is by no means Oingo Boingo's best album, it is certainly not as bad as many near-sighted critics have asserted. Elfman's songwriting, even when he's not firing on all cylinders, still blows the hinges off most of his peers on their best days. It is true that many songs on this go-around lack the smooth transitions that characterize Only a Lad, but the intricately woven, complex song structures do well to sustain Elfman's erratic mood swings. The album begins strongly, with Boingo's trademark bells and synth on "Grey Matter" and then switches gears with an abrupt slap-bass progression on "Insects." "Private Life" brings it all together, oozing forth elaborate instrumentation and rich songwriting. If you can humor Elfman when he gets too excited by his own proselytizing with songs like "Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself," and you give the album a few listens, you'll recognize it's a vastly underrated sophomore effort.
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AllMusic Review by Kieran McCarthy