Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Album Review: Erasure.


Has it really been 26 years since "Oh L'Amour?" Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, better known to their legions of fans as Erasure, can honestly be hailed as one of the most successful synth-pop bands of all time. From their 1985 debut Wonderland to 1988's The Innocents; and from 1992's remarkable celebration of ABBA songs, Abba-esque to the delicate beauty of 2005's Nightbird – Erasure has soldiered on through highlights and low, selling along the way in excess of 25 million records.

Tomorrow's World, their 14th studio album, harkens back to the heady days of the early '90s with style and panache, and in the process happens to be their most exciting release of the last decade. Bell's voice is in as fine a form as ever, his trademark falsetto soaring to astonishing heights as Clarke backs up the proceedings with a plethora of headily pulsing beats, surging synths and flowery rhythms.

Exploring the age-old themes of regret, recollection, reflection and epiphany, Tomorrow's World is, all told, a hopeful record; focusing not so much on what has passed, per se, but rather its heart belongs in the future – thus the title, I reckon.

Things kick off with the joyful strains of "Be With You," its bouncy club anthem feel transporting the listener back to 1992 and the diva-led tracks that seemed to be the staple of the burgeoning house scene back then. Mssrs. Bell and Clarke revisit their Chorus-era days with the wonderful and bounce-eliciting "I Lose Myself" and "Fill Us With Fire," whilst the stirringly soulful "When I Start To (Break It All Down)" brings to mind their work on 1987's brilliant The Circus.

When all is said and done, Tomorrow's World fits nicely with the rest of Erasure's oeuvre. Radio-friendly, with no songs any longer than four minutes, this is a snappy and succinctly straightforward album. Erasure has always been a soul band with electronic sensibilities, and Tomorrow's World reflects that ethos perfectly. Wearing their hearts happily on their sleeves, Erasure has demonstrated that they still have stories to tell; and oh boy, do they still tell them beautifully.

I have no idea why, but currently Blogger is not allowing me to embed videos. Otherwise I would have embedded this terrific video montage of Erasure's recent tour, accompanied by the fantastic track "When I Start To (Break It All Down)." Check it out, it's very awesome.

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