Pop dominated the 1980’s with electronic beats and seemingly endless guitar solos. In the case of Erasure, they took the synth-pop route – and ended up being one of the most successful groups of the era. You might recognize them from their most popular songs, “A Little Respect,” but they haven’t been sitting idle since the song’s release. In fact, the duo has created 17 studio albums, including their most recent, World Be Gone.
Many listeners are wary of listening to new material from older, veteran artists. Will their sound have changed drastically? Will it be characteristically them? Fans of Erasure need not worry; they have successfully continued with their blending of beats and maintaining emphasis on vocals and their message.
Andy Bell’s vocals are what stood out in almost every song. They feel sincere and real, reaching out to the audience in a way most artists cannot. Of course, all of the supporting voices in the instrumental sections contribute to this, but they get their own time to shine. Rather, they stand-by to augment and lift the lyrics and notes.
The transformation of the synth-pop genre throughout the years has been up and down. In modern years, the utilization of the synthesizer has been limited to specific dance music. World Be Gone proves that although it seems to be dying out, this genre can be adapted in many different capacities. “Love You To The Sky” seems like it could be playing in a club at this very moment, with a head bopping rhythm and catchy chorus that guarantees it’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the majority of the album is exactly the opposite of it’s conventional use of the genre currently.
At times, songs can drag – it’s a generally slow album and has the tunes have a tendency to become redundant. It may become difficult to differentiate between a few songs here and there. Otherwise, it they only embody a unique turn in their music.
“Sweet Summer Loving” is a stand-out song for all these reasons and many more. While one of the more positive songs with lines like “Baby you’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” it allows for a respite from the depression that seems to be sweeping the masses while still acknowledging it. It also feels like this could be on your local “alternative” radio, showing off inventive blending of sounds that are brilliantly euphonious.
In this tumultuous political time, many groups have written songs in response to the chaos and conflict. It’s been a way of expression, to get out any angst and emotions the musicians may be experiencing and crafting it into an art form. Some are outright and blatant about it, while others have taken the more subtle route. In the case of this album, there was a strong point to a lot of the songs. However, it wasn’t so politically soaked that the songs lost their integrity.
Their touch hasn’t been lost since their “peak” thirty years ago. If I could describe the band in one adjective, it would be versatile. While maintaining their true identity as a band, they’ve been able to respond to changes and remain fresh and hip. It’s a solid album that sticks true to Erasure and addresses the political atmosphere in an artistic and expressive way.