Erasure – Light At The End Of The World
Although long past their commercial peak, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have settled into a comfortable niche which could sustain them indefinitely. It has been over twenty years since their last flop single; two years ago, Breathe even went Top Five. Like the Status Quo of electro-pop, they plough their particular furrow, oblivious to the changing musical landscape around them.
Following what Vince has called a “mid-tempo crisis”, the thirteenth Erasure album sees a return to short, snappy, mostly upbeat pop songs, with an overall mood of romantic optimism. The opening three tracks form a terrific opening salvo: lively, danceable, and stuffed with hooks, they suggest a confident return to form.
Thereafter, as the mood progressively mellows and softens, the essential conservatism of Erasure’s approach becomes increasingly problematic. Vince still has a winning way with a melody, and Andy’s voice is as fine as ever – and yet the material sounds formulaic, overly familiar, and curiously unaffecting.
This is pleasant, business-as-usual fodder, that will please fans but fail to make much of an impact elsewhere. Maybe that’s all we have a right to expect.