ERASURE's Andy Bell
Following some of the early reviews and comments on the numerous pages that concern themselves with the new Erasure album, it becomes obvious that "Tomorrow's World" seems to divide the fans.
While some ask "Erasure, what's happened to you?" other hail the album as a "Masterpiece".
Be this as it may, the fact that the new album is very polished and a wee bit over produced in places ("A whole lotta love run riot" is a good example for that) is very logical to me.
Erasure has been together for 25 years and have released tons of material, which resulted in sales in excess of 25 million, 40 chart-hitting singles and an illustrious career YET more often than not one reads them labelled as an "80s band", which is very unfair.
In my mind, "Tomorrow's World" is trying to escape those labels and pre-conceptions.
I have been listening to the album at least 10x now and for me personally it still delivers the magic that is Erasure.
Songs like the opener "Be With You", "Then I go twisting" and the closing track "Just when I thought it was ending" fit in neatly with older material and are quintessential Erasure.
"When I start to (break it all down)" is also more than a decent single, which is easily explained since Erasure as a song writing force are well established and many bands would wish for the gift of songwriting the way Vince Clarke and Andy Bell are still able to pull it off.
Sure, the album has its weaknesses such as the too automated sounding voice of Bell in some tracks, especially since he is really a vocalist whose voice is outstanding and studio trickery really doesn't suit his voice nor is it necessary.
Ultimately, it is the sometimes dated-sounding soundscapes of the one and only Vince Clarke that are lacking on the album, which is presumably why it has been likened to Bell's solo work.
Does this make it a bad album? - Not at all in my opinion since, as mentioned, the songwriting is still strong and the melodies are hooky.
Yes, as a fan of Vince's since the early 1980s I am clearly biased, but if I just compare "Tomorrow's World" to what else is out these days and on the charts, it again is rather amazing how Erasure fit in and make a mark.
For the future I hope that Erasure come to realise that they don't need Frankmusic or other producers to lead the way and that they may return to good old Vince Clarke-based synths.
Judging on their 2011 'Total Pop/Tomorrow's World' tour, which brought them to numerous countries all across the globe, with sold out gigs being the norm, they needn't fear to become "has beens".
Yes, the new album is a departure from earlier works and perhaps pale in comparison to say "Nightbird" or "I say, I say, I say" but they have delivered a contemporary sounding album, worthy of the 21st century.
The album is ordered and will make a fine addition to my CD collection and I wouldn't be surprised if it would become yet another Erasure classic.