The second Tears for Fears album following Curt Smith's departure finds Roland Orzabal treading water (and self-consciously deep water at that). Long removed from the simple, melodic melancholy of the band's early work and abandoning the mid-period Beatles-influenced pop, Raoul and the Kings of Spain often borders on progressive rock. There's some genuinely pretty, if unexciting, music like the piano-driven ballad "Secrets," with it's soaring guitar line, and the gentle "Sketches of Pain." Unfortunately, everything is undone by Orzabal's lyrics (mostly co-written with guitarist/keyboardist Alan Griffiths). There seems to be a lack of ideas that cannot be concealed by the words, which are either inscrutable or embarrassingly silly ("What's the matter with your life/Did someone come and shoot your wife," he asks on "Sorry"). Listeners on both sides of the Atlantic couldn't be bothered, and the act's commercial fortunes fell even further.
AllMusic Review by Tom Demalon