This is undoubtedly Erasure's most experimental work, making a mockery of those critics who wrongly accuse Erasure of forever releasing identical sounding albums. A one-hour-eleven minute epic, this album sees Andy and Vince create several extended musical periods which escape from the typical three-and-a-half minute pop song. Although popular with the fans, the album and subsequent singles did not do well in charts, making this a release that massively underachieved. The album does not start well, with the very sub-standard Intro: Guess I'm Into Feeling. A poor man's True Love Wars, this non-song does at least give an indication of the stylistic experimenting to come. The excellent Rescue Me follows and makes amends for the weak opening track. A wonderfully enjoyable song measuring over six minutes in length, this gets the album going with a sterling performance from both Andy lyrically and Vince musically. Of particular enjoyment is the juxtaposition of sinister goings on coupled with a message of hope and joy. By-the-numbers pop this certainly is not.
The overall impression is of Vince spending endless weeks in his new dome-shaped studio fully believing himself to be orbiting Ursa Minor while Andy blubs his way through the tormented pages of his diary whenever he gets the chance.NME
Sono Luminus follows, a fine ballad that sees Andy's full vocal range explored over another lengthy song, which is perhaps guilty of being a little simplistic musically. It is still a top song, one of passion and commitment that fits well into the ambiance of this release. The more upbeat Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day) follows, a more typical dancey Erasure type number which made up one of the album's singles. A terrific song, with periods of an eerie nature (a characteristic of this album), this track livens up the general tempo of the album. This song deserved much better than the poor UK chart placing it received as a single. Next up is Rock Me Gently which is one of Erasure's finest songs, and debatably their best ever ballad. A track of such brilliance, this was surely more worthy of just being released as a single in Germany and the Czech Republic in the form of an inferior and more radio friendly remix. A wonderfully worked melody compliments the excellent lyrics which are given depth and more feeling by the addition of the London Community Gospel Choir. Unfortunately this track is seriously hindered by a ridiculously over-long 'tea break' which severely fragments the song. Diamanda Galas's wails do little to impress and the near six minutes of eerie audio in the middle of this tune really were not necessary. Yet this does not detract enough from making this a triumphant recording, one that is more worthy than to remain a relatively unheard album track.
If you've come to regard their pop as being like a good shag that's grown too familiar, imagine 'Erasure' being that new item from the Ann Summers' collection that's going to relight your fire.Time Out
The excellent Grace follows where Andy reveals his disillusions with the world in this most heart-felt of songs. A fine, if a little under-amplified duet with Ruby James in the chorus elevates this song further and is a demonstration of the tremendous song writing skills of Erasure. Stay With Me once again slows the album down, with Andy once more assisted by Members of The London Community Gospel Choir. A truly beautiful song, performed with Andy's usual excellence makes this a song of great sentiment fitting to bring a tear to the eye. Perhaps not the greatest choice for a single, Stay With Me is still a majestic and gorgeous song. Love The Way You Do So is a largely unexceptional song that isn't as infectious as many of the other tracks on the album. What it lacks in spark it makes up for in terms of it sultry nature and Andy's deep vocals are especially agreeable.
Fans' Best/Worst Of
- Fingers & Thumbs
(Cold Summer's Day)
- Sono Luminus
- Rock Me Gently
- Intro – Guess I'm Into Feeling
- Love The Way You Do So
A long, and slightly irritating gap is found between this track and the next, with annoying war siren style wails before the remarkable Angel begins. The most typical Erasure song on the album, this song conforms more to the typical pop song structure but this is no bad thing. One of the few more up-tempo songs, it is enjoyable and catchy, but sadly hindered by the experimental period of noises that precedes it. I Love You is a somewhat nondescript song that doesn't particularly excite as the album begins to come to its conclusion. Not a bad track, but it is far from being an album highlight. The fine A Long Goodbye is as it says; a lengthy ballad conclusion to this one-off album. The song is enjoyable and eventually culminates in a quite passionate and interesting climax. A worthy way to wrap up any album.
Fresh in it's approach, this album deserves much credit for its attempts to escape from the norm. The songs are diverse and interesting, the production from Thomas Fehlmann and Gareth Jones is professional, giving the release an extremely polished feel. This release unfortunately won the band few new fans, but did appease their existing ones, proving Erasure are no average pop band. The periods of sound effects and lyrical wailing are not to my liking and sometimes slow the album and its songs unnecessarily, however it is still a very pleasurable album which should not be overlooked because of a lack of hit singles.
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