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Andy Bell & Vince Clarke
"As the undisputed champs of camp, Erasure
have produced a solid body of work during their decade-plus run as the lighter
side of Depeche Mode's doom-and-gloom pop. With
their bouncy synths, ebullient melodies and tales of lost loves and boyhood
crushes, Erasure have over the years become the '90s equivalent of the Village
People--a frothy band whose heavy gay subtext still eludes the hordes of
screaming young fans yearning for summertime tales of high school love. Over
the course of their long career, the duo of multi-instrumentalist/songwriter
Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet-soundalike Andy Bell has
churned out a seemingly endless supply of club hits."
-- Jeff Watson, Yahoo! Launch
½ 1986: Wonderland
"The duo's full debut was a sparkling collection of synth-pop tunes that made up in enthusiasm and immediate catchiness what it lacked in overall variety or any sense of artistic progression from Clarke's past. (...) Bell's vocals merely tie the connections to the past further, his at-times too-shrill-for-comfort falsetto inevitably echoing Yaz's Alison Moyet as well as one-time Assembly vocalist Feargal Sharkey. Allowing for all these inevitable reminders, though, still means Wonderland is well worth a listen. The key reason is the smash U.K. single Oh l'Amour, which rapidly became a staple for American modern rock stations as well. A lovely a cappella opening and instantly catchy hook, ..."
-- Ned Raggett, AMG
½ 1987: The Circus
The Circus sees Andy Bell finding his own vocal capability rather than being an Alison Moyet soundalike. This album lays the ground work for what would become Erasure's forte: melodic and catchy synthpop tunes that will undoubtedly fill the dancefloors in the late eighties. With hits like Sometimes, Victim of Love and It Doesn't Have to Be, The Circus brings back the charts success of Yazoo to the synth-master, Vince Clarke.
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 5/02
¾ 1988: The Innocents
Erasure's third album, The Innocents, established them as one of the leading pop acts of the day; within the space of one year, they had 3 top-20 singles, the album went double-platinum and was a UK number 1 on two separate occasions, they were voted 'Best Group' at the Brit Awards, they embarked on the first of many sell-out arena tours (with 35,000 applying for the 11,000 tickets available for the concert at the Birmingham NEC, later released on video)...
"After Erasure's brilliant 1988 'The Innocents,' any follow-up album had to be a come-down. Wild! has its moments, but the number of forgettable tunes is too high to make this a classic album. Side one opens with a prelude, a shortened instrumental version of side two's Piano Song. Then comes the high point of the album -- Blue Savannah. Simple lyrics and theme complement the catchy melody and Andy Bell's gorgeous, lighter-than-air vocals, making this the best song. Drama! is an up-tempo shouter with a thunderous refrain: "We are guilty! GUILTY! Of how we ever entered into this life..."
(...) Side two, however, is where the album comes apart at the seams. Except for a catchy refrain in Brother and Sister, the next three songs are utterly forgettable, especially the cheerless 2,000 Miles...."
-- amazon.com reviews, firstname.lastname@example.org
"No longer making a big American splash outside of its fanbase and alternative radio -- and about to be turned into yesterday's news thanks to the techno/hardcore explosion -- Erasure on Chorus concentrated on just sounding like itself. With the notable exception of the hypersassy Love to Hate You, Bell steers away from campiness in favor of a series of gentler meditations and impassioned pleas. Chorus itself is another great Erasure anthem, Clarke providing just the right combination of beat and melody for Bell's surprisingly effective tackling of environmental degredation."
-- Ned Raggett, AMG
¼1992: Pop! - The First 20 Hits
"This is the quintessential synthpop album of the 80s, gathering 20 of the biggest pop hit songs of Erasure, several of which were some of the greatest synth driven pop tracks of the 80s decade. Unfortunately, none of the Erasure albums released later in the 90s managed to spawn any hits worthy of mention, and hence, to this day, this album remains the best of what Erasure has to offer."
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 5/02
½ 1994: I Say I Say I Say
"Erasure really killed their momentum with Abba-esque, a needless covers album of ABBA songs that turned the band into living cartoons. From that point on, the group leaned heavily on camp and silliness and lost the original charm of their Buzzcocks-lite lyrics of teen-love angst."
-- Jeff Watson, Yahoo! Launch
"(...) Vincent Clarke intended to make this a "Pink Floyd-like" album in providing lengthy, ambient-like songs replete with eery, eldritch and atmospheric synthesizer tones and in THAT respect he probably succeeded overall. After releasing this album, though he stated that it didnt' turn out as good as he wanted it to, and I agree. It's not that I dislike the fact that it's different from other Erasure albums, but in my opinion, the melodies aren't as talented or memorable as melodies in other albums, -they're drawn out too long and are too repetitive as well."
-- amazon.com reviews, yih_dzelonh
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2003: Other People's Songs
"Solsbury Hill, the Erasure version at least, is a tired and disappointing introduction to an album that proves itself to be half-hearted and aged with every humble track. The songs that Clarke and Bell have chosen as a base for their covers album should really have been given much better attention. There was indeed potential to turn Cant Help Falling In Love and Youve Lost That Loving Feeling into the over-produced icons of campness that made Abba-Esque such an immaculate and well-loved success. But they are played far too straight, Bell tries to match his predecessors in vocal ability and inevitably fails dramatically. (...) With 'Other Peoples Songs', Erasure have proved that their time is certainly over. This collection of ill thought through and poorly performed covers is a death bell tolling on one of the countrys most successful pop acts and its an embarrassment to listen to."
-- peter naldrett, music-critic.com, 1/03
Tracklisting: 1. No Doubt 2. Here I Go Impossible Again 3. Let's Take One More Rocket To The Moon 4. Breathe 5. I'll Be There 6. Because Our Love Is Real 7. Don't Say You Love Me 8. All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love 9. I Broke It All In Two 10. Sweet Surrender 11. I Bet You're Mad At Me
"The sirs of synth pop are back. With an unmistakable sound and a musical legacy firmly established, Erasure return with their first studio album in seven years, 'Nightbird', on January 25th. Few techno pop groups have had a greater impact on the charts or dancefloor than Erasure. Selling over 25 million albums worldwide, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have earned a reputation as innovators of modern dance music, beloved as much for their unforgettable remixes as their string of bouncy singles. To commemorate their 20th anniversary, Nightbird is simply back to business, bubbling with the classic Erasure sound that has influenced an entire generation of songwriters, producers, DJs and pop music fans worldwide. At the core of Erasure's impressive history of chart topping hits, is the unlikely combination of Clarke's Icy synths and Bell's dramatic choir boy vocals. A founding member of Depeche Mode and Yaz, Clarke's credentials as an electronic pioneer are unmatched while Bell injected theatricality and warmth into a music genre that had previously been seen as cold and robotic. 'Nightbird' prooves just how far they have come without changing this impeccable sonic formula. It's the perfect time for a new generation to taste who the forefathers of elegant electro are all about. 'Nightbird' is an extraordinary record filled with prime arrangements and cleverly synthesized pop romance tracks."
"Judging by both the rudimentary sleeve art and the fact that it's being billed as an 'acoustic album', at first glance, 'Union Street' probably won't top many music fans' 'to buy' lists. Indeed, it would probably struggle to scuffle its way into the hearts of even many a well-established Erasure fan. Rest assured, however, that though this is an album glutted with delicate acoustic plucking and heartfelt vocals, there's a gleeful absence of narcissistic stool-roosting and mawkish tortured angst. Despite its low-key presentation, 'Union Street' - a collection of nifty rearrangements of neglected album tracks and b-sides from the past decade - has a heart as big as Messrs. Bell and Clarke's record collection. Gone are the overlapping synths, the kitsch dance-pop and the outlandish production; in come slide guitars, softly thumped percussion and sparse tales of broken hearts. This is Erasure stripped down to the bare essentials; and almost contradictorily, it uncovers what's most essential about the band to begin with. Proof that Clarke and Bell are never short of a ruse, 'Union Street' largely keeps to the acoustic path, but does occasionally veer slightly off-track. (...) 'Union Street' may well be seen as a rehash of obsolete material by some; but really, it's a well-rounded, well-produced and utterly well-crafted assemblage of songs that are simply enjoying their stint in the limelight. Singer-songwhiners, take note."
-- Lauren Murphy, entertainment.ie, 4/06
½ 2007: Light at the End of the World
Tracklisting: 1. Sunday Girl 2. I Could Fall In Love With You 3. Sucker For Love 4. Storm In A Teacup 5. Fly Away 6. Golden Heart 7. How My Eyes Adore You 8. Darlene 9. When A Lover Leaves You 10. Glass Angel 11. Be My Baby (bonus track) 12. I Don't Know Why (bonus track)
"I Could Fall in Love With You is the best track on the album, but the songs surrounding it certainly aren't a disaster. The album opener, Sunday Girl, should be considered for single release. Starting off with a flourish of distorted vocals, it resolves into Clarke's ideal in his work, a combination of Arabesque sounds exchanging places perfectly with electronic beeps and bleats that have been currency in British music since Joe Meek's work in the early 1960s. The lyrics are a pure distillation of Saturday night at your local dance club, finding the ideal girl to dance into Sunday morning with. It's a blast of pure joy that's a perfect opener. Fly Away is another bit of brilliance. It's Bell at his best, treating his voice like another of Clarke's keyboards, soaring all over the place to create a beautiful dance ballad. If I Could Fall in Love With You exemplifies the "heavier" side of Erasure, this is a brilliant example of the "lighter" side. Bell's vocals are right up front on Darlene; it's an adequate but not great love song. Those weaknesses are countered by a slightly different approach on When a Lover Leaves You, where Bell restrains himself to give the material a little more gravitas, and Clarke creates a direct approach with the backing keyboards, laying off the extraneous bits and constructing a perfect frame for Bell to work inside. That song's only problem is in its abrupt ending. The album closes off in magnificent fashion with a highly atmospheric song, Glass Angel, with strong minor chords, great keyboard flourishes, and Bell buried in the mix more than usual, which benefits the track greatly. It's a rather uncharacteristic song for Erasure, and a great song to play for those nay-sayers who categorize Erasure as mindless dance music. (...) Unfortunately, the album's saddled with some weak tracks. Storm in a Teacup is an example of Bell trying too hard to overcome weak material. Sucker for Love is rather insubstantial..."
-- Eric Szulczewski, Machine Gun Funk, 05/07
2011: Tomorrow's World
Tracklisting: 01. Be With You 02. Fill Us With Fire 03. What Will I Say When Youre Gone? 04. Youve Got To Save Me Right Now 05. A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot 06. When I Start To (Break It All Down) 07. I Lose Myself 08. Then I Go Twisting 09. Just When I Thought It Was Ending
Release date: Oct 3, 2011
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