Erasure/The Violet Flame


Erasure (/ɨˈrʒər/) are an English synthpop duo, consisting of singer and songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke. They formed in London, and entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single “Who Needs Love Like That“. Following the release of their fourth single “Sometimes“, the duo established itself on the UK Singles Chart and became one of the most successful artists of the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

From 1986 to 2007, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 40 hits in the UK, while having 3 Top 20 hits in the US (on the BillboardHot 100): “A Little Respect“, “Chains of Love“, and “Always“. By 2009, 34 of their 45 singles and EPs (of which 8 out of the 45 were not chart eligible in the UK) had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10. In 1989, Erasure won the Brit Awards for the “Best British Group” category and was nominated several times the following years.[1]

The duo is most popular in its native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark and Sweden) and also in South America (especially Argentina, Chile and Peru). To date, Erasure has sold over 25 million albums worldwide.[2]

The band is also popular within the LGBT community for whom the openly gay singer Andy Bell has become a gay icon.

The Analysis

Dead Of Night—-With a gentle hush of music, the newest Erasure journey begins. The bass and dance grooves are not far to follow and the familiar strains of Andy’s voice quickly follows. The recipe that is Erasure is well intact and this lead-off track does not deviate. Bell is in strong voice while Clarke manages to repeat synth waves that have popped up before but still manage to enthrall and sound original.

Elevation—-One of the four singles thus far released from this CD, this is at once comfortable to my ears and makes e realize how much I have missed this duo. This song has a huge club oriented energy that will play well for years after people forget this CD. There is an uncanny partnership between these two that works so well. The craft is polished and magnificent…the music has an odd wave sound to it….perhaps that was all done on purpose. There are hidden blips and beeps you catch after numerous listens. This is triumphant!

Reason—-Wonderfully brilliant from the first punches on the keyboard, Bell enters with his vocal and tells a tale of elation that seems to pervade even my warped senses. This has a nice driving synth line that is so damn dance-able and joyous, you will find it hard not to get caught up in the instrumented euphoria!

Promises—-If there is a complaint of the recent output from this duo, it is the damn familiarity of it all. These synth lines are played over and over by Clarke…only the double layered vocal and histrionics from Bell will save this release from obscurity. There is a joy to the slight underlying pain of the lyrics on this release. One wonders how it can be so…but indeed……it works very well.

Be The One—-Slowing things down a bit…as Erasure tends to do from time to time, the blips from the keyboards are everywhere…the low hum of the synth gives this whole thing an overwhelming sadness. This is familiar…sounding as if it belongs on the Erasure release from years ago. Clarke is a mastermind when it comes to assorted sounds…and they are in full spectrum here…this is triumphant…deep and heart-felt…yet remarkably introspective at the same time.

Sacred—-Another huge single in the UK from this release, I much more prefer the remixes that were produced. That is not to say that this is not acceptable to the common fan…..but remixes are still a fascination for me…the deconstruction and reconstruction of the remix is incredible to me. This begins a bit whimsical…but it is hard to get to down with the synths going. When the chorus hits you…this sing turns into a huge techno free-for all that makes you want to jump, spin and just be….well…gay! Brilliant!

Under The Wave—-Ohhhh… wonderfully familiar and comfortable. There are a few variations…but the music is pretty rote. Bell enters with his vocal…sounding so smooth and genuine. His deeper baritone fits the song magically. This has another huge chorus that sucks you in and makes you somehow incredible happy to just be alive….I guess that is what music is all about.

Smoke And Mirrors—-Showing some noisier originality that I have not heard in a bit, Bell enters with a tale that seems rather personal and revealing. As you listen to the words a few times, you have to wonder if this is a bit autobiographical. This is painful to hear…but hard to digest when it is laid to this type of music. I know Bell recently ended a 20+ year relationship…perhaps this explains things a bit.

Paradise—-This track begins as soon as the cue hits and seems to build and build to a more euphoric sound as it continues. Bell has a way of phrasing his lyrics and vocal that is catchy upon the first listen….this is about as energetic and brilliant as you can get. Clarke gives us a nice galloping beat that adds to the whole mood….I am transported to the sweaty nightclubs of my ecstasy filled youth!

Stayed A Little Late Tonight—-Ending this sixteenth release with a bit of a downbeat toe, this again sounds a bit personal. It must be difficult to expose your soul like this for everyone to hear. The instrumentation picks up a bit…but the deep hum that runs through the bottom of the song allows for an aire of sedation and introspection. Magnificent….I really like this release!

**** out of 5

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