A true diamond.
Times are busy for ‘Erasure’ it would seem. On the ascendancy in the public eye recently celebrating thirty years as an active pop act, increasing media coverage and a seemingly constant live programme sees them entertaining fans old and new.
Their last album ‘World Be Gone’ was a remarkable album in many ways seeing them catapulted into our lives once more, songs that are potential career bests and ‘that’ formula that Vince Clarke and Andy Bell seem to instinctively possess. Described as a ‘bright idea’ by Clarke, ‘World Beyond’ sees those ten tracks given an orchestral and near classical overhaul for the first time since English composer Andrew Poppy rearranged tracks for 1987s ‘The Two Ring Circus’.
With Clarke taking a backseat Bell performs with ‘Echo Collective’, a Brussels based collective of post-classical musicians who also produce and arrange the album. A six piece collective previously known for their work with the late ‘Johann Johannsson’, ‘Adam Wiltzie’ and ‘Dustin O’Halloran’, take World Be Gone by the scruff of the neck and beautifully re-arrange each track. It’s captivating, hearing out and out pop songs turned into orchestral interpretations as though they were meant to be that way.
The opener from ‘World Be Gone’, the poppy single ‘Love You To The Sky’ is switched with ‘Oh What A World’ which becomes the new lead track, its dark and foreboding and begins that album with more than a little drama (sorry) as the lyrical content becomes more evident in its take on current world events and paths.
Perhaps Clarke’s recent launch of the Very Records label with new acts like ‘Alka’ and ‘Reed And Caroline’ or, collaborations with the likes of ‘Jean-Michel Jarre’ and ‘Equinox’ have developed a yearning to spread his wings. Maybe Bell’s incredible performances as ‘Saint Torsten’ the poly-sexual immortal in which his voice excelled beyond all expectation has provoked this new collection. Either way the pairing with the Echo Collective is inspired.
‘A Bitter Parting’ is powerful and ‘Still It’s Not Over’ confirms that Bell is a vocalist who like a good wine, is improving with age and confirming he is indeed a much-underrated singer. ‘Love You To The Sky’ sits perfectly into its new track-listing position as the album draws to an all too quick close and final track, ‘Just A Little Love’ retains its stature as one of the albums most impressive tracks.
World Beyond is a calculated success, not just because it contains excellent musicianship and performances but also because the songwriting of Clark and Bell continues to impress with sheer class shining through. A true diamond.