Loveboat

Onge's Review

After a three-and-a-half absence, Erasure returned with their ninth original album Loveboat in October 2000. Produced by Flood who worked on the first two Erasure albums, this album demonstrates an experimental element to Andy and Vince's song writing with the album possessing a largely acoustic feel. The album opens with Freedom, which with its heavy guitar strumming and catchy chorus is a largely a pleasant song, but it doesn't possess any real long-term potential. Where In The World is one of Erasure's finest ballads, a song rich in empathy and emotion. The production is also of high quality, with the soft beat complimenting Andy's deep, heartfelt vocals. Crying In The Rain is a track of innovation, with an R'n'B-esque drum arrangement complimenting Andy's vocals. Although cliché filled lyrically, this does not detract from a fine song. Memories of the Erasure album are also evident, with the Pretentious style middle-eight showing Vince may well not be over the appeal of surreal sounding audio.

Loveboat is the richest and most diverse Erasure album in years. Crying In The Rain welds bent hip hop beats to Bell's angelic keening, the ballad Surreal provides the honeycomb pop kiss goodbye and Catch 22 and Alien are classic Erasure pop songs.

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Perchance To Dream is wonderfully diverse lyrically, rich in imagery and escapist metaphors, with this song demonstrating a exploration in Andy's vocal writings which can be sometimes missing. The music is equally unconventional, with the stomping bass and often cracking percussion showing a different musical direction from Vince. Despite this, the track does feel a little raw and under-produced. Alien is an Erasure classic, an example of the perfect pop song Erasure never fail to deliver. Beautifully performed, this is almost reason enough to have Loveboat in your CD collection. That said, the bass in the final chorus does feel a bit over-amplified and smothers the song's conclusion slightly. The production of this album has come under a lot of criticism and in this instance it could have perhaps been better.

The album then slows for the uninspired Mad As We Are. Confused lyrical imagery and a bland musical accompaniment make this the weakest track on the album. Apparently an attempt to write a Phil Spector-esque style number, the only really interesting thing about this track is the way the volume gradually builds up as the song reaches it's conclusion. Here In My Heart is potentially a decent Erasure track let down again by an drab production which doesn't know if it's trying to sound retro or futuristic. Either way it fails and does not compliment Andy's singing which takes a turn for the worse on a couple where uncharacteristically Andy warbles his way through a small section of this song. All is forgiven as the excellent Love Is The Rage kicks in with Andy at his vocal superiority once again. A song from the heart, with an excellent Vince melody this is a fine Erasure track. A catchy chorus demonstrating the conflicting idiosyncrasies of love is the central theme to this ballad. Without doubt one of the best songs on the album.

Fans' Best/Worst Of

Top 3 Songs
  1. Alien
  2. Freedom
  3. Catch 22
Bottom 2 Songs
  1. Mad As We Are
  2. Crying In The Rain
Results taken from Poll 2008-09

Next up is Catch 22; another track where the production is so demo tape-esque that it detracts from an otherwise good song. Typical Andy lyrics but a far too bass-heavy arrangement simply leaves this track sounding confused. The song itself is decent, but sadly the mixing is not. Moon & The Sky is one of the least Erasure type song they have ever written. No real chorus structure, but instead a techno beat and astrological imagery make this a pleasant departure from the Erasure norm. This track indicates that perhaps Andy and Vince have it in them to release a real dance floor hit, but whether they will attempt to is unlikely. Surreal concludes the album in typical ballad style. Strong lyrically, understated vocally and musically this song is a gem of a track.

Summary

Generally this is a satisfactory album which is sadly let down by the mastering which I can't help feeling is inadequate. Who is to blame for the perceived problems of the audio is unknown (Flood seems to bare the brunt of it, rightly or wrongly), but the raw, unpolished sound is a big step back from the rich aural tapestry of Cowboy. Over time this album has grown on me (especially after learning this was the first album written after Andy was diagnosed as being HIV+ which now paint the lyrical themes in a different light), but ultimately Loveboat doesn't have the strengths to be considered one of their best.

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. The songwriting gives this 5 stars, the production gives it a 3. I was so excited when this came out, but was in shock after listening. While we got some real gems such as Mad as We Are, and Moon and the Sky, we got some duds as well. Brilliantly realized but poorly conceptualized.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Mig, Santa Cruz, CA
    1 January 2006 11:20 pm (GMT)
  2. Well what a shock i had when i got this cd home!!! I took my first copy back to the shop because i was convinced it was faulty (THAT GOD AWFUL CLICK AT THE END OF ‘FREEDOM’ FOR STARTERS) the mushy sound quality of ‘Where In The World’, The volume changes all the way through ‘Mad As We Are’………….sorry i don’t really need to go on………… but the thing is………………ALL the tracks on this album are SUPERB, its just the final mix that spoils the end result………..in my opinion.

    Oh how i wish for a newly remixed version, and Flood really should have know better!

    5 out of 10
    Reviewed by Glynn, Huddrersfield, England
    2 January 2006 8:57 pm (GMT)
  3. The songs are quite nice. However the mix is really really bad. Its like it was rushed.

    2 out of 10
    Reviewed by mark, Stratford
    10 January 2006 10:42 pm (GMT)
  4. The Loveboat album is an excellent example of Erasure’s songwriting skills and musical talent. All the songs are expertly written and the lyrics are some of the best ever wrtitten. Yes the mix does let it down but also makes it sound unique. I do like the uptempo Erasure songs like Stop etc but this album, as are the other, are different from anyother. Thats what makes Erasure great

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Stewart, Slovenia
    11 January 2006 2:26 pm (GMT)
  5. Despite I admit Loveboat’s sound quality is weird, I like the way how it sounds and I’m not saying this for being provocative or conceited. Well, Flood & Vince just tried to create a different conception for Erasure’s sound and they were well-succeeded on their intention at my humble opinion. I mean Andy’s voice was supposed to sound muffled on some songs, some songs were intentionally recorded with dirty beats… Besides, this work owns 7 songs that I adore, which are: the touching Alien, the thrilling Where In The World, the delightful Catch 22, the gorgeous Perchance To Dream, the beautiful Surreal, the shaking Moon & The Sky and the brilliant Love Is The Rage. And even the despised Freedom I like to hear at present. It’s a good one but it was a poor choice for being the 1st single from Loveboat indeed.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ocean Soul, Rio de Janeiro
    20 January 2006 10:03 pm (GMT)
  6. This album has a nice acoustic atmosphere and the songs are good, although there isn’t any obvious hits. It’s true that the production sucks, a little..nevertheless a good effort.

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by jemuvompo, Finland
    30 January 2006 7:56 pm (GMT)
  7. This is one of my favourite Erasure albums, altho many erasure fans may not agree with me. The songs that stand out for me are “Perchance To Dream”, “Alien”, “Mad As We Are”, Love Is A Rage and “Moon & The Sky”. the albums is more acoustic that any of there other albums (well excpet for union street which is gettign realesed soon). Also it seems like most of the song are more emotinaly driven by love which works very well for theses songs. I reccomend this album as a must although if your new to erasure im sure you will choose a more “Erasure” album like The Innocents, Wild! or Pop.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Colin Macrae, Glasgow
    3 February 2006 3:10 pm (GMT)
  8. Yep, I’M the one. You know, the one Erasure fan who actually loves Loveboat? That’s me. Allow me to explain why:

    This is probably one of the albums where Erasure venture most away from their comfort zone and usual standards. Vince Clarke takes some risks here, none moreso than on “Crying In the Rain” and “Perchance to Dream”, where a decidedly hip-hop beat serves as the backdrop. The thumping bass and beat make for an interesting contrast against Andy Bell’s falsetto. “Perchance to Dream” is perhaps the best track on the album because of this. This is territory that hasn’t been explored before and I honestly wish they’d try more of this. But then again I’m the fan with the weird taste and I actually DO like some hip-hop which I understand is not in the typical Erasure fan’s collection.

    In the heartbroken “Where In the World”, Andy Bell goes with a low register which is one he should try more often. His voice sounds gorgeous in this pared down ballad. “Alien” is an equally beautiful song. Like Cowboy’s “Precious” it’s a smooth ballad but with the added bonus of having some of the better lyrics of their discography. “Love’s young dream could be alien/Strange ways, how we fly/ Tuning low like a radio/ Whispering Goodbye”. It flows so effortlessly it’s almost easy to ignore all the different layers Vince puts into this song.

    “Mad As We Are” is another song in the vein of “Where In The World”. Andy Bell’s voice is somewhat hidden in the beginning of the song; I like to think of it as hearing a song coming from the hallway or next door, something that could maybe even be playing off an old gramophone. You want to know more and as it grows louder it gives the illusion of following the mysterious song til at the end his voice is significantly louder and you’re in the same room as him.

    “Here In My Heart” and “Catch 22” go into formulaic Erasure territory but both remain pretty good songs. “Love Is The Rage” takes on a different approach. While not my favorite song on the album, I like the way this track starts out with Andy singing whimsical lyrics almost a cappella.

    Then there comes the crowdpleaser: “Moon & The Sky”. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this is standard Erasure. It’s a dark, beat-heavy dance stomper. Andy’s voice goes from falsetto to low register in one sentence and then abruptly soars during the chorus.
    After the energetic “Moon & The Sky”, “Surreal” brings the tone down several notches and is a fitting farewell to the album.

    Okay, I’ve put it off for this long. I skipped the first track, like I usually do when I play the album. “Freedom” was the single from Loveboat and is NOTHING like the rest of this album. The lyrics are trite and musically, it just sounds like a bad commercial. In short, I think it’s the worst song Erasure has ever done. A shame as the majority of this album is innovative and definitely unique in the Erasure song discography, despite all the production woes people go on about. In fact, “Freedom” is so bad, it takes away two whole points from the 10 I would have given Loveboat. So there you have it!

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Evelyn, New York City
    6 May 2006 2:21 am (GMT)
  9. This is in my opinion, Erasure at their worst. Mainly because of production; I couldn’t believe how bad Andy’s voice sounds through album. Like the whole album is a live recording where he sang live. You can tell they’ve been experimenting at the time. The only song which is a intruder on this album and in whole Erasure catalogue is ”Moon and the sky”. It’s really cool, but they didn’t pull it right; Andy’s vocals in the song are terrible.

    1 out of 10
    Reviewed by boki, Croatia
    1 June 2006 8:22 pm (GMT)
  10. El gran pecado de este disco esta en su pruduccion …, y es lamentable porque este disco era un intento mas que necesario en la evolucion de ERASURE, intentar cambiar un poco su sonido, variarlo, agregarle nuevas cosas…., Personalmente este disco me encanta.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by German Saavedra, chile
    1 October 2006 3:25 am (GMT)
  11. I love this cd. It is my fav Erasure CD of all time. I was a huge Erasure fan in the 80’s but I forgot about them in the early 90’s ( can’t remember why ) I rediscovered them when I bought the Greatest Hits and I have since bought all there cd’s. From the opening song to closing song it is pure perfection. It has some of my favourite songs on it. I really cannot understand why everyone is complaining about the production. That adds a certain charm to the whole album. I listen to it all the time.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Walied, Cape Town SA
    19 December 2006 7:51 pm (GMT)
  12. There has been a lot of talk about this album. So much, It has almost gained the word “Notorious” in front of it.

    Regardless of what people have to say about it. To me it was a relief. A well welcomed
    relief after the three year gulf since Cowboy and not having the internet at the time and having all sorts of bad Erasure thoughts going through my mind at the time.

    The first song I heard from the album was Freedom. What to me sounded dead like
    the Sometimes and/or the Little Respect era. A really catchy guitar driven tune.

    The album it’s self though really did boast some brilliant songs including Freedom.
    Home, Catch22, Perchance to Dream, Moon and the Sky and Love is the rage.

    All of these songs had something, something diff’ernt from previous Albums.
    something a lot of the fans couldnt get used to. It was called experementation!
    Which is basically Trial and error. But is that not what the fans want in the end?
    Is Erasure still here 21 years later because they released 30 odd new versions of Sometimes? No. Its because they keep on reinventing them self all the time.

    They did not choose the loveboat route in the end. After OPS we got Nightbird. Looks like they chose another route they chose. Nightbird was pretty amazing stuff i can only wait in anticapation for “Light at the end of the world”

    But at the end of the day I can still listen to loveboat any time I want to and still love
    every minute of it.

    PS… If all Erasure fans have to moan about is Loveboat. Put Your self in the shoes of the PSB fans who had to put up with “Release”!!!!!!

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Nobby, Isle of Mull Scotland
    28 January 2007 12:20 pm (GMT)
  13. I would say this is their first acoustic album (before their release of “Union Street”). Lots of great songs, but mixing are weak.

    FREEDOM [8/10]
    WHERE IN THE WORLD [7/10]
    CRYING IN THE RAIN [4/10]
    PERCHANCE TO DREAM [9/10]
    ALIEN [9/10]
    MAD AS WE ARE [5/10]
    HERE IN MY HEART [7/10]
    LOVE IS THE RAGE [7/10]
    CATCH 22 [8/10]
    MOON & THE SKY [4/10]
    SURREAL [6/10]

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Michael, Amarillo, TX
    27 July 2007 7:04 am (GMT)
  14. Not my favorite at all. Not even in the top 10. It just was too much like Erasure Erasure and that one bored me too. Sorry, I like my Erasure to have some dance to it!

    4 out of 10
    Reviewed by Steve, USA
    1 August 2007 6:27 pm (GMT)
  15. I bought “Loveboat” when it was first released. I was, like most, taken aback a bit by the production on some of the songs such as the echo like quality of “As Mad As We Are”, but found several of the more traditionally produced songs enjoyable. Unfortunately I didnt like enough of them to put it on heavy rotation in my CD player.
    Fast forward to recently when I pulled the album off my shelf again. I found that I had overlooked a pretty good album just because it wasnt what I was expecting. While “As Mad As We Are” and “Perchance to Dream” will never be in my top Erasure songs once you over look the interesting sound they are really very well done and written. “Catch 22” and “Here in My Hear” are fun. “Alien” and “Love is the Rage” are gorgeous and incredible.
    I could go on but there is more to this album than first meets the eye…or is that meets the ear? Give it a listen without expectations and rediscover it.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Polly, Worms, Germany
    6 September 2007 9:07 am (GMT)
  16. Don’t get me wrong, I love Erasure, but this is a collection of poorly written sad and depressing songs. The album is lyrically, musically and vocally weak. And the sound quality is terrible. Sounds like it was recorded from someone’s cassette player at home. — Very Poorly produced, and you can tell it is VERY LOW BUDGET. Certainly, the band who gave us “Sometimes”, “Stop,” “Blue Savannah,” and “Chains of Love.” can do better than this. From this Loveboat album — “Here in My Heart” is the one highlight of the record, but Andy’s vocals are all over the place. I must rate this album 1 star out of 10.

    1 out of 10
    Reviewed by Mike, Florida
    22 February 2009 9:47 pm (GMT)
  17. Right, I am playing Loveboat again, for the first time in years, to try to pinpoint what was generally perceived to be wrong with it, and what were the saving graces. Here goes…
    Freedom – bright, but not like Erasure. Lots of choppy acoustic guitar, some odd stops and weird sound effects.
    Where In The World/Crying In The Rain – depressing songs with more strange twiddling, even varying Andy’s vocals during the same tune.
    Perchance To Dream – what might have been a good song is subdued behind a dreary and monotonous tune.
    At this point, just when the combination of starting with poor songs and conducting a muddled production experiment has you on the point of throwing the CD in the bin, out comes the beautiful Alien – it really does get under your skin and in your hair.
    Mad As We Are – another low point, with a sad slow tune and the curious touch of gradually turning up the volume as the song progresses.
    Yet from here on in the album turns logic on its head by ending with five good tracks, assuming you’re still listening.
    Here In My Heart – flows along effortlessly in classic solid Erasure album track style.
    Love Is The Rage – one of those songs that has you concentrating on the lyrics.
    Catch 22 – another that on most V&A LPs would gracefully link one hit single to the next.
    Moon & The Sky – flies off on another tangent in an album featuring the most complex mix of styles Erasure have ever attempted. This is a thumping dance track where you can imagine a DJ cranking up the bass and muffling the vocals at the same time.
    Surreal – a lovely ballad that finds its own pace perfectly.
    This is a real album of two halves. Either the second part just came more easily, or there was not time to address what most fans see as ‘issues’ in the earlier tracks. Not as bad a record as I first thought, but it could have been a lot better.

    4 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul, UK
    3 August 2011 1:16 pm (GMT)
  18. As a young Erasure fan, this was my first Erasure purchase, which was probably the worse album I could have found. I had stumbled along this CD at a small record fair, where after hearing some great Erasure hits, I was looking out for anything of Erasure. Fortunately, I believe in listening to every album from an artist and so Loveboat, despite not doing much for me, didn’t stop me delving deeper into the work of this great duo.

    The album itself remained an oddity to me, I simply couldn’t find any stand-out tracks except Freedom. However, over the last month, I can now say that I thoroughly enjoy this album and even the odd mixing that gives the album an atmospheric overcoat. It is an album that takes a lot of time to appreciate and therefore should probably be left until one has discovered the duo’s more popular albums.

    Freedom is catchy and friendly
    Where in the World is emotive and beautifully carved
    Crying in the Rain is a very unique and memorable track
    Perchance to Dream highlights some fantastic vocal
    Alien is pure Erasure with a brilliant chorus
    Mad as We Are is fitting but not really a standout – focuses on lyric
    Here in My Heart is melodic and true to Erasure’s usual sound
    Love Is the Rage is enchanting, with a great chorus
    Catch 22 flows along perfectly and features another flawless chorus
    Moon & the Sky is very very unusual and experimental but does have plenty of charm all the same after more listens
    Surreal is a greatly emotive ballad to finely close the album

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ashley, UK
    27 June 2012 8:45 pm (GMT)
  19. Very best album .

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by vio-Timisoara -Romania
    2 July 2012 11:36 am (GMT)
  20. Just been listening again to love boat again and must admit it has grown on me after dissmissing it first time round when I first heard it having been spoilt with cowboy. Most tracks are spot on and it was really good to hear alien recently performed on the tommorrows world tour. Would like to hear I would like to hear a return to the eponymous erasure album of the mid nineties for their next release! Wonderful album their best!

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by john magee clitheroe lancs
    24 January 2013 3:41 pm (GMT)
  21. first of all FLOOD is a god of the producers

    he has produced most of the albums the world adores and which i own.

    THE KILLERS/U2/DEPECHE MODE/SMASHING PUMPKINS and of course ERASURES sophomore album THE CIRCUS

    but this album is a really bad one.

    Its not only the artwork thats disgusting, but also the most songs of this album

    FREEDOM is really one of the only OK songs

    1 out of 10
    Reviewed by Christianz Germany
    14 November 2013 9:42 pm (GMT)
  22. All the songs sound like they are at demo stage.

    When this was released I was going through a break up, so I do not have any fond memories of this record, sadly the record is dull, very much like I felt at the time, maybe they felt the same?

    Be good to hear some of tracks remixed, might be interesting.

    4 out of 10
    Reviewed by Steve
    27 May 2014 12:19 pm (GMT)
  23. sweet, relaxed, calm and very original. Such a pity it did not get the success it deserved. A gem

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Vangelis – Greece
    5 October 2014 7:56 pm (GMT)
  24. This albums really divides fans, but few disagree about the production on the first few tracks (were the band and flood a tad deaf during the making of the first few tracks?). Maybe they were trying to be a bit “indie”. Anyway, the album is better than its reputation suggests, but no classic by any means. Freedom was a poor single choice in my oppinion, and had a terribly cheap looking video. Perchance to Dream is wonderful as is Alien.
    Mad as we are was a bizzare single choice and could hardley have troubled the charts.
    A good album that feels unfinished in parts and that contains some overlooked gems.

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by pmrelliott dublin
    2 March 2015 4:15 pm (GMT)
  25. I liked Freedom.
    The rest bored the heck out of me.
    Average Rating: 1/10.

    1 out of 10
    Reviewed by Gizmo Canada
    31 May 2015 1:09 am (GMT)
  26. A very very weak álbum. Yes, the production is as bad as they say. What happened to The Flood? Great lyrics, the songs Freedom and Where in the World are the only bright spots in a forgettable album.

    3 out of 10
    Reviewed by BRossete Joinville, Brasil
    31 August 2015 8:13 pm (GMT)
  27. This is the Erasure album that went wrong. There are some nice tunes and even a very good moment (Here in My Heart) and yet most of this album was further hindered in production. Personally, I do not listen to Erasure to here acoustic music nor acoustic interpretations of their songs. That element was strike one for this effort, followed by the aforementioned production disaster, and finally sub-par song writing.

    FREEDOM [5/10]
    WHERE IN THE WORLD [4/10]
    CRYING IN THE RAIN [3/10]
    PERCHANCE TO DREAM [3/10]
    ALIEN [4/10]
    MAD AS WE ARE [3/10]
    HERE IN MY HEART [8/10]
    LOVE IS THE RAGE [4/10]
    CATCH 22 [6/10]
    MOON & THE SKY [5/10]
    SURREAL [3/10]

    4 out of 10
    Reviewed by Jonathan Andrews – Florida, USA
    15 March 2016 1:51 pm (GMT)

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