20 May 2017
Erasure - World Be Gone
Erasure for me are a very special band, they were one of the first acts that I purchased a 7" Vinyl of with my own money when I was younger when I was doing my first job (a paper round) with the purchase of 'It Doesn't Have to Be'. Over the years, they would release some of the most important singles for me as I grew up, when they reached their emotional peak with the release of the song 'Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day)' from their 1995 album 'Erasure'. That song is in my top ten song list of all time, it was just such an emotional peak that I have always been comparing everything else to it. But that is not to say they have not been releasing interesting or joyous work since then, they have made some great records and now they have released a new record in the form of 'World Be Gone'. Produced with Matty Green and Erasure, this album was first announced in February 2017 and it had a pledge campaign as well. I was lucky enough to have an advance copy and have been digesting it for a week, as I wanted to give it a fair response. So, now it is time to look at the album in detail.
01 – Love You to The Sky
With the sound of pounding drums, Messrs Bell & Clark start this album with a song about being in a solid relationship and love is at the top of the agenda. It is a powerful, joyous pop song that has every trapping of their old-school sound, mixed in with modern synths and a sense of fun which is lacking in a lot of music at the moment. Is it a deep song, no; but is that what a pop song should be, a little flippant number that sends your heart racing, digging into your head for hours afterwards and just bring sunshine in the world by just existing! This starts the album in style, it grabs your attention straight away and it is absolutely fantastic!
02 – Be Careful What You Wish For!
A song with a warning from the very beginning, but not the one you might assume it would be. Very similar to ‘Ship of Fools’ from ‘The Innocents’ in tone, this love song (spoiler/non-spoiler – there is a lot of love songs on this album, an awful lot of the little mites) with hints that things could be going better if there was honest lines of communication and trust as rumour and deceit can cause a lot of pain and mistrust. It is a decent number, the music is soaked in a mournful quality, but it is not sparking my interest too much if I am honest as it feels like they have been here before. Not asking for every song to be original gems, but this one if a bit too familiar for comfort.
03 – World Be Gone
The title track of this album is another slow number, one that deals with the subject of the breaking up of a union so that all parties can move on to brighter, happier places (even if there is pain in the meantime). This song can certainly not be accused of being cheerful, but it is a beautiful, fragile pop number that will have a lot of people weeping within the first few moments. But it could also be seen as a comparison to the events of the world, especially in Europe and all the fuss with the political future of the continent – but that is speculation on my behalf.
04 – A Bitter Parting
Another song about the parting of the ways, this time it is not the nice parting of the ways, there is some pain and anger to this number and it shows in the vocals. It is not too much of a departure if we are honest, but there is a bruised and tender feeling to the words and the performance from Andy Bell on this one. Vince Clark keeps things minimal once again, only coming to the forefront when required and letting the vocals/lyrics do the talking. I think this is an interesting song, but one that I am still trying to make up my mind about.
05 – Still It’s Not Over
At this point of the album, you might think they might change direction. There is not a change, but there is a metaphorical song here which can be viewed in so many different ways that it is not easy to put your finger on what it is all about. It is more than likely to be about how a selfish lover is not letting go, or it could be that everyone is still wanting the union to continue, or it could be about something completely different. Once again, it is mostly minimal and restrained which has become the watchword for this album, but the results are still interesting and you can hear a lot of growth in this song. It is a song that will continue to evolve longer after your first listen, that is a sign of a very good song.
06 – Take Me Out of Myself
The need to get away from people is not uncommon, but needing to get away from yourself to make things right is not as common as you may think. But it is the beating heart of this song, the very essence of every beat, note and vocal. It is asking for another to make the choices as they are too much, too painful to approach from the other person. If it was possible, it strips even more out of the sound of this album and it makes me wonder if we are close to an Erasure minimalist utopia on this one, but it is one of the best songs on the album as it lays bare every emotion for all to see, but with a sense of dignity and maturity.
07 – Sweet Summer Loving
A love song that is reflecting about the first moment when people met, when future lovers first see each other and feel the tingle of connection, excitement and lust. It is not the fastest song, it is still a stripped out, minimalist number that is fitting in with the best percentage of this album. But it is another song that reveals more about itself with each listen, adding more layers with each spin of the record.
08 – Oh What a World
This song take the album and mood on a different path as everything turns darker and the music has an aggressive, almost industrial element to the verses. Reflecting on the world and not liking what they see, this song just has no light about it. It is a heavy number by their own standards and it does not give any hope about things to come. It is well played, sounds crisp and I am not too sure how I feel about it. It could be a piece that is mood dependent, but it is one that I keep changing my mind about. Verdict – the jury is still out on this one.
09 – Lousy Sum of Nothing
A song that deals with the apathetic views of the world, how humanity has become disconnected from the planet and each human is very isolated from everyone else. There is also an attack on the media and how news which should be reported is being ignored as the rich and the powerful oversee how the news is presented to people. It is a harsh number, but it is one that a powerful message at its heart and it is well worth listening to, as it combines their melancholic side with a damning condemnation on how society has drifted from its true purpose.
10 – Just A Little Love
The finale of this album focuses how things can turn south very easily, but how a little love and basic human compassion can make the world a better place. This song has minimal verses and loud chorus sections, beautiful vocals and it ends the album on a high point, full of positive statements, big ideas which should be obvious and with hope – something that we could all do with at times.
‘World Be Gone’ is an album that seems to be a bit of an enigma to me, even after playing the album for over a week. It is beautifully crafted as you would expect from Erasure, Messrs Bell and Clarke are the masters at making the heart break and dance with effortless ease. But with this album, they have created it top heavy with the melodic pop songs and whilst they are performed perfectly well, I am not finding the spark that makes an Erasure song a special moment in your life. There is still gems on this record and the performance is not substandard, but it does not reach the highest a lot of their back catalogue. I was not expecting a return to the old days, so it is good to see they are moving in their own direction still and creating love songs for the masses. It just needed a few more upbeat numbers, that is all. I like it, but I also know it needed a little bit more sunshine too. I guess the title should have warned it was going to be a dark album……
6 out of ten – Now, I see where you were going, but it is not quite there
Top track – Love You to The Sky
You can purchase World Be Gone on Amazon here.
You can visit the Erasure website here, where you can also purchase the album as well.
You can follow the activities of Erasure on Facebook here.
You can stream World Be Gone on Spotify here.
You can stream World Be Gone on Deezer here.
You can stream World Be Gone on Tidal here.
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