Erasure

Onge's Review

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

Top 3 Songs
  1. Fingers & Thumbs
    (Cold Summer's Day)
  2. Sono Luminus
  3. Rock Me Gently
Bottom 2 Songs
  1. Intro – Guess I'm Into Feeling
  2. Love The Way You Do So
Results taken from Poll 2008-09

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.

Summary

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.

Fan Reviews

Below are some fan reviews written by visitors to this very site. Once you've read these, please feel free to use the form at the end of the page to write your own review.

  1. Rarely does an album come to light of such monumental achievement, unless of course, you’re Erasure. Having reached the heights of pop scales with past works, the duo attempted something different this time around while still remaining true to their perfect form. These were songs, and still are, that rival Simon and Garfunkel for best written of the century.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Mig, Santa Cruz, CA
    1 January 2006 2:25 pm (GMT)
  2. A magestic album. As long as you wish so therefore unleashing on us all Vince’s musical ability and Andy’s vocals. Excellent

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Stewart, Slovenia
    11 January 2006 2:28 am (GMT)
  3. The self-titled represented the first big fright gave by Erasure on their fans. It’s simply the most unexpected work from Erasure, since it takes a long time for ending, it’s full of ballads and instrumental parts, the lyrics are sadder than the usual… So it’s pretty hard to classify this one. I mean it’s still a pop record but V&A added such a new elements to their formula here that anything you knew before about Erasure’s sound it became part of their past after hearing this work. It begins with an instrumental one (well, Andy just sings in the end of this one). Actually, I think (like many other fans) the excellent b-side True Love Wars should be here instead of Guess I’m Into Feeling. It’s Ok anyway, but it’s with Rescue Me that this one starts to thrill a lot! It’s such an amazing song that every time I hear it I like it even more than before. The way how Vince used his synths here was so original. I mean the song doesn’t follow a straight way, but it changes throughout its duration. It really escapes from the lyrics-chorus-lyrics-chorus-solo-chorus formula (well, I love this formula, but it’s good to hear Andy & Vince doing something so different). Then it comes another piece of art called Sono Luminus (this is probably one of the most original titles given to a ballad). I think it’s a song appropriated for watching an Aurora Borealis because of its melodic splendour and Andy’s divine vocals. Three of the 4 next tracks from the self-titled were released as singles: Fingers & Thumbs, a very, very and very exciting pop song ; Rock Me Gently, that I tend to skip because of its long instrumental part performed by Diamanda Galas, nevertheless it’s a very beautiful ballad with great lyrics ; and finally the sweet & sad Stay With Me, that it’s a superb (and a bit underrated, I think) ballad and I believe it’s able to touch even the hardest heart in the world (Ok, I know I’m being very naive here… But who knows…). Regarding the other tracks, I love equally Grace, Angel and A Long Goodbye, but I tend to ignore Love The Way You Do So and I Love You, despite I know these two ones are far from being poor songs. It’s funny that it’s simply impossible to classify Love The Way You Do So and I Love You as ballads or as dancing pop ones, just because they aren’t neither of these two things. Regarding Grace and A Long Goodbye, they are both magnificent ballads (more 2 ones!) with fantastic lyrics. By its turn, Angel is the most erasurish one in this record, despite its weird instrumental beginning performed by Diamanda Galas. It’s pop. It’s dancing. It’s soft. So it’s pure Erasure!

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ocean Soul, Rio de Janeiro
    22 January 2006 8:40 pm (GMT)
  4. This is the most experimental record from Erasure. Vince has developed the tracks more than usually, at times a little too much. Well, that makes this album unique, also the compositions are just great.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by jemuvompo, Finland
    30 January 2006 7:09 pm (GMT)
  5. This will go down as their best ever work………..one day!

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Yogi, Eric’s Basement
    5 April 2006 1:39 am (GMT)
  6. INTRO: GUESS I’M INTO FEELING [10/10]
    RESCUE ME [10/10]
    SONO LUMINUS [10/10]
    FINGERS & THUMBS [10/10]
    ROCK ME GENTLY [10/10]
    GRACE [10/10]
    STAY WITH ME [10/10]
    LOVE THE WAY YOU DO SO [10/10]
    ANGEL [10/10]
    I LOVE YOU [10/10]
    A LONG GOODBYE [10/10]

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Michael, Amarillo, TX
    27 July 2007 7:10 am (GMT)
  7. Just one year after the happy sound of I Say I Say I Say, Erasure got darker than ever. With extremely long songs –from six to ten minutes- the self-titled album is risky, provoking, different. The album Erasure functions as a whole and even there is no space between some tracks. Intro: Guess I’m Into Feeling is like a short version of the b-side True Love Wars, a powerful introduction. Rescue Me has a particular rhythm, almost irresistible. The gorgeous Sono Luminus combines a lovely melody with a superb Andy; it ought to have been a single. Fingers And Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day) is a great danceable song with good lyrics that deserved better luck in the charts. Rock Me Gently -that only appeared as a Czech single- is a tremendous track with powerfully sad lyrics about fame, drugs and suicide plus a fantastic Vince melody that allows it to last ten minutes without getting bore. In the next one, Grace is a nice tune with some good lines but not extraordinary. Then comes Stay With Me, a fine song but a bit boring to be chosen as the first single. Love The Way You Do So is not a very special song but marks the only participation –from their debut up to Light At The End Of The World included- of Andy’s boyfriend, Paul Hickey, making backing voices. Angel has a festive and very catchy sound, a potential single as the next song I Love You, this one is about all the things that are forgiven because of love, and it has a genial ending. To close this album there is a song with strange rhythm linking strong verses, A Long Goodbye.
    Singles’ extra songs: True Love Wars: a song extremely similar to Intro:Guess I’M Into Feeling but longer –surely they had to shorten TLW because of the length of the album and there IGIIF was born-. Hi Energy: a pleasant and energetic cover. Chertsey Endlos: hypnotizing song with the same verse repeated twenty times but with a very enjoyable dance melody.
    Summary: an experimental record, this fantastic but misunderstood album made V&A loose popularity.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Hernán, Buenos Aires-Argentina
    22 July 2008 9:26 pm (GMT)
  8. Definitely one of my favourite Erasure albums. I love the space that each song is allowed to breath in and explore as Vince ignored the rules of sticking to a 3min pop song. I Love You, Rescue Me and Rock Me Gently are the standouts for me. I wish they would continue to use some of the experimentation of this album in future releases, though they seem to have fallen right back into familiar terrain. Gladly this album exists to prove just how much more than just a simple formulaic pop band they are.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ryan Lea Vancouver BC
    24 July 2011 5:26 pm (GMT)
  9. A concept album! Cleverly the songs were largely self-contained so with some careful tape to tape editing you could squeeze it down to one side of a cassette (as such things still existed in 1995!).
    Intro: Guess I’m Into The Feeling – I have nothing against this, although it could be argued that such things are largely pointless. Rescue Me – doesn’t make much of an impression. Sono Luminus – beautiful, and with a title to match. Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day) – a brilliant song, will go down as one of their best ever, never mind being the best on this album. Perfectly paced, and the instrumental interlude, with echoes of Depeche Mode’s Tora! Tora! Tora!, adds to the experience because it only heightens your anticipation of the final rendition of yet another amazing Erasure chorus. Rock Me Gently – from that stable of Andy-led ballads and perfect to cool down a live audience between faster phases. Grace – nice enough. Stay With Me – beautiful ballad time again. Love The Way You Do So – ok, but lacking impact. Angel – cracking song, brilliant chorus again. I Love You – a bit screechy. A Long Goodbye – again, doesn’t make much of an impression.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul, UK
    3 August 2011 3:31 pm (GMT)
  10. The most experimental and most beautiful work of Erasure!!!

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Rafael_Brazil
    16 January 2012 4:13 pm (GMT)
  11. INTRO: GUESS I’M INTO FEELING [10/10]
    RESCUE ME [10/10]
    SONO LUMINUS [10/10]
    FINGERS & THUMBS [10/10]
    ROCK ME GENTLY [10000/10] it is THAT good.
    GRACE [10/10]
    STAY WITH ME [10/10]
    LOVE THE WAY YOU DO SO [1000/10]SUPERB
    ANGEL [10/10]
    I LOVE YOU [10/10]
    A LONG GOODBYE [10/10]

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by James Near İstanbul,Turkey
    10 February 2012 10:46 am (GMT)
  12. I have to say, I was a synth pop guru in the late 80’s and then lamented the grunge movement of the early 90’s…Erasure was still a bastion of enjoyment for me….I vividly remember getting this CD from my CD Club (remember those ?) and couldn’t wait to fire it up…I was immediately like WTF ? But after time, I felt the music really moved me….and perhaps it was that point in my life (life was much simpler 17 years ago), but this CD accompanies some of the best memories of my life….It is very good…you need to “wear it in” but stay with it. I find it quite relaxing and thought provoking at the same time…I have to say, this is probably in my top 3 Erasure albums..it’s that good.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by RJ, Long Island, New York
    12 September 2012 4:14 am (GMT)
  13. One of the greatest electronic albums ever made, criminally overlooked.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul / Cork City, Ireland
    24 March 2013 5:58 pm (GMT)
  14. I.m.h.o. this is the best work by Erasure, experimental and pop at the same time: heart & brain in a marvellous collaboration. From the Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” style “Intro”, medley with the hypnotic rhythm of “Guess I’m Into Feeling”; followed by the i.d.m. of “Rescue Me”(one of the highlights of the whole album) and the shining brightness of “Sono Luminus”(weird title!). Then it’s time for the poppy “Fingers & Thumbs”, very-very good! After this starts “Rock Me Gently”, a beautiful melody that slowly turns into psychedelic synth sounds and ambient atmospheres before return to mother earth, manifesto of the whole album. The disc continues on this top level with “Grace” and the gorgeous “Stay With Me”;”Angel” is also very nice with its attractive melody and spatial siren’s background. “Love The Way You Do So” it’s the only weakly episode (In this contest) however I think this it’s a good song. “I Love You” it’s ok and then “A Long Goodbye” ends perfectly this magnificent album. This work it’s a masterpiece of electronic music and a must have for fans or not.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Christian-Genoa,Italy
    12 April 2013 11:40 am (GMT)
  15. This album has helped me through life so far. From 1995 until now and still does. This is without a question the best electronic music album ever released. I do not see this as an album but a complete perfect song. Thats probably why I have about 35 different editions of this album.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Henrik Goteborg Sweden
    23 April 2013 5:32 pm (GMT)
  16. A masterpiece. So many people’s favorite Erasure album for good reason. The ether and innocence of I Say, I Say, I Say swoons when the love that had been longed for enters the room. The myths and stories of romance are transubstantiated into pain, betrayal, lust and thorny contentment. Another appeal not to be swallowed by your own darkness. Another not-so-happy-ending. Innocence and idealism caught up in the hell that is other people.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Thorpe Denver, CO
    16 June 2013 6:59 pm (GMT)
  17. This is not a bad album but the end of their successful overwhelming career.

    it peaked only at # 14 on the uk charts and disappeared soon.

    It was not their fault, that the album flopped so badly.

    i was a small child at that time and watched mtv regularly and none of the songs were played on radio nor the videos on mtv.
    The songs are ok, but a little bit too long

    it was totally unneccesarly to have a song (rock me gently) with a lenght of 10 Minutes and stay with me is not a good choice for a first single

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by Christianz Germany
    14 November 2013 9:31 pm (GMT)
  18. Didnt like this album when it first came out but it was a grower .still think fingers and thumbs or rock me gently should have been the first single

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by mark willcocks .torquay
    19 November 2013 7:08 pm (GMT)
  19. You can hear they been Working really hard on this album. A very experimental and ambitious album. It’s a masterpiece.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Thomas Copenhagen
    17 December 2013 6:17 pm (GMT)
  20. Still not sure about this one, this has some good tracks, but sadly this record was the downfall for Erasure, they never recovered from this.

    favourite Song:

    Fingers and Thumbs

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by steve
    5 January 2014 9:17 pm (GMT)
  21. The ‘oil painting’ album sits in the middle of a 4-disc ‘trilogy’. Starting with Chorus where Vince went to CV/analog, this form of production certainly set in motion forces that led to the oil painting record being the peak of the soundcraft that he started developing on Chorus. I think it is important to view the contribution of this record by viewing the two before it and actually, the one after it – Cowboy. Cowboy is oil painting sensibilities applied to their classic format. If you don’t like this record, but value its texture and contribution to their craft, then you will probably be much happier with Cowboy. I’m glad it has the nickname ‘oil painting’ because it is a rich, deep canvas of complex layers, textures, voices and rhythms. It is in my top 10 and gives things like Eno’s Before and After Science, Japan’s Tin Drum or XTC’s English Settlement a run for their money. It is a landmark and influential record.

    Chorus was my all-time fave until I Say, so when Erasure came out it took a few months, but it just got better and better. And Cowboy is my fave “regular” Erasure record. These two, I believe, are their best recorded works.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Jeffrey Santa Cruz, CA
    24 August 2014 3:28 am (GMT)
  22. Fantastic approach by Erasure.
    The slower and longer style of writing really
    shows of the exceptional talents of Andy and Vince!

    Rescue me, Sono Luminus, Stay with me and Fingers and Thumbs are
    stand-out songs.

    10/10

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Brendan, Surrey
    25 August 2014 12:43 pm (GMT)
  23. An album that was not widely bought by the casual erasure fan and one that at the time disappointed me. In hindsight, however, this album deserved a huge audience if only for the two singles and the track Angel. Yes is was a bit of an experiment which, at the time, was probably a mistake given that synthpop was under attack from dance, grunge and other genres. Worth revisiting for sure, and an album that I return to again and again.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by pmrelliott dublin
    2 March 2015 4:08 pm (GMT)
  24. A culminating refinement of a new production direction started with Chorus. Part of this process was a result of using a very unique set of synths. Modular monophonic (versus analog polyphonic) changes completely how you work, and with it, the sound. It helps that these old synths are mostly discrete and not Curtis or SSM-based – making for massively rich filters and OSCs. However – and simultaneously – Oil Painting is a refinement of how synth parts were being re-voiced as electronic or acoustic vocal arrangements as Andy’s voice became a modular synth. Martyn Ware pushed this vocal and choral approach even further than Chorus and it clearly peaked on ‘Oil. I think the contribution Francois Kervorkian made to this record can’t be overstated. He has a history of mixing rich beautiful soundscapes, such as Kraftwerk’s Electric Cafe and DM’s Violator. Oil Painting is bested only by Cowboy as it is the classic popsong rendering of this new approach to their sound. I think they did it right. They didn’t return to the classic format until they got all the kinks worked out. Many don’t like the songs and the record company was clearly pissed, but I believe you have to see Oil and Cowboy in the context of their evolution as artists . Rating is actually 9.8

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Victoria, Santa Cruz, CA
    16 January 2016 10:46 am (GMT)
  25. I LOVE this One! Still waiting for a Erasure Part II.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by BRossete Joinville, Brasil
    12 March 2016 11:34 pm (GMT)
  26. This is an expansive and creative piece of art. Erasure created it because they COULD. Vince is a synth god and Andy is so gifted vocally.

    I rate this album different than I would any other. It is not one that I return to very often but when I do I am mowed down by its brilliance.
    In truth for plain enjoyment it ranks a bit lower. This takes more work than a majority of Erasure releases. You are sucked into the soundscape and cannot simply coast along. The jarring vocals, the synthscapes make my mind go into overload.

    INTRO: GUESS I’M INTO FEELING [9/10]
    RESCUE ME [9/10]
    SONO LUMINUS [7/10]
    FINGERS & THUMBS [9/10]
    ROCK ME GENTLY [7/10]
    GRACE [9/10]
    STAY WITH ME [7/10]
    LOVE THE WAY YOU DO SO [7/10]
    ANGEL [9/10]
    I LOVE YOU [9/10]
    A LONG GOODBYE [8/10]

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Jonathan Andrews – Florida, USA
    14 March 2016 9:29 pm (GMT)

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