Casual Erasure fans may have thought the pop maestros gave up on the party with the title of their last album World Be Gone – and song titles like Oh What A World and Lousy Sum of Nothing.
Of all the classic 80s synthpop duos, Erasure have always seemed the most hedonistic and flamboyant – Andy Bell’s feather boas and assless chaps will always turn more heads at the party than Neil Tenant’s yuppie suits or even Marc Almond’s bondage gear.
Erasure are responsible for some of the most enduring pop songs of the last 30 years, with Bell’s brash soul voice wafting around synth mastermind Vince Clarke’s endless hooks and genius sound design.
World Be Gone, though, takes a bit of detour. You know the world is seriously on the skids when even Erasure are commenting on the current cesspit. It wasn’t such a surprise when Clarke’s first band Depeche Mode stuck their head out politically last year on their album Spirit, but World Be Gone is a big side-step from Erasure’s Hi-NRG pop bangers.
Oh What A World and Lousy Sum of Nothing use broad strokes to rail against Trump, Brexit and the refugee crisis, with Bell lamenting about the “whole sordid affair”, saying “The world has lost its loving”, and “What became of wanting to be free?”
Clarke’s electronic arrangements on World Be Gone often defer to the vocals this time, with Bell’s voice wracked with raw emotion, with cracks showing in his falsetto.
They said they weren’t coming from a calculated position, but rather a mood seeping through. In an interview last year, Bell said: “That’s just how the songs came out… we weren’t thinking, ‘Oh let’s be political now’. I think we just wanted to do something with meaning.”
But just as Bell once sang, “Love and hate, what a beautiful combination”, there are plenty of uplifting, glittery moments on What a World – notably the two bookend tracks Love You To the Sky and Just a Little Love.
For any veteran pop act playing live there’s always a dreaded love for “the new stuff”, but Erasure should be confident that there won’t be a mass piss & pint exodus in the Olympia when they drop in these songs.
But the biggest buzz will come along with sugar rush pop belters like Sometimes, A Little Respect and Victim of Love – and who knows what they’ll be wearing.
- Erasure play Dublin’s Olympia tonight and tomorrow (January 30 & 31) after postponing last night’s show. Get well soon Andy’s dodgy throat…