Erasure mark their return with both a new single and a new tribute album that features a collection of 12 cover versions. I’m sure some will question the release of this album, but despite being purely an album of cover versions ‘Other People’s Songs’ is especially welcome after the disappointment of their previous album ‘Loveboat’. Considering the selection of tracks featured and the general idea behind the album I’m sure some will draw similarities with this album and the classic Silicon Teens album ‘Music For Parties’.
I have to admit that I’m not familiar with all the tracks featured and I’m only vaguely familiar with some of the others, this is mainly due to both my own taste in music and when some of these tracks where originally released. Tracks like ‘Walking In The Rain’ & ‘Ebb Time’ while ‘Goodnight’ is one track that I’ve never heard before. Considering the fact that all the tracks featured are purely cover versions, it will no doubt play a part in what people will like with both this album and with each individual track. But, having said that, I don’t see that being a problem with this album in general, especially as Erasure have thankfully returned to the perfect and purist Synth Pop of the two albums they released the best part of a decade ago – ‘Chorus’ & ‘I Say, I Say, I Say’.
There is an excellent selection of tracks here including the opening track and current single ‘Solsbury Hill, clearly one of their stronger and better singles from through out their career while the forthcoming and second single to be taken from the album itself, ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me), (to be released in April), is a track where both the pace and acoustic guitar of the original is perfectly suited to Erasure, it will I’m sure be just as successful as a single as ‘Solbury Hill’ was.
Two of the more familiar tracks and from that potentially difficult tracks to cover are ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ & ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’. For me, both tracks are excellent versions and do no shame to the originals. ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ is paced well, perfectly sung and like many of the tracks on the album itself the harmonies of the backing vocals blend in well while Vince’s familiar ‘blips & bleeps’ allow the track to breath and Andy’s vocals to shine through to produce a superb version of this classic track while the more difficult ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ is given a similar treatment with its pace but with the addition of a darker edge to strengthen the track itself and to give it a more powerful feel which in turn perfectly combines with both Andy’s vocals and those of the backing vocalists, least not towards the end of the track itself, no doubt The Human League’s version of this same track has had some influence on this version. Once more it’s another superb version in which Erasure can clearly hold their heads high with their versions of these two tracks. Another outstanding track is the simple and dark ballad ‘Goodnight’, but due to it being a track that few will be familiar with, it’s a track that will almost comes across as an Erasure original.
Other excellent tracks include the more mid-paced ‘When Will I See You Again’ complete with some impressive backing vocals while ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ may lack the pace and spark of the original, but I’m sure the intention was not to simply record a direct copy of the original version, but having said that this version is a little flat and from that somewhat disappointing while other tracks include the simple and light touch of ‘Walking In The Rain, the harmonies of the backing vocals fitting in perfectly with those of Andy Bell. The bright and bouncy feel of ‘Everyday’, one of two Buddy Holly tracks covered, the second being the simple and pleasant ‘True Love Ways’ while another ballad like track is the excellent ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’.
The strong and powerful rhythms of ‘Ebb Tide’ is the only track that failed to impress, as I mentioned previously it is a track that I’m not familiar with and one irrespective of who records it really does nothing for me. If this track where not included here on this album, the album itself would have easily received ten out of ten.
Within reason, forget the fact that this is an album of purely cover versions and fully appreciated the sheer quality of both the tracks and over all the album itself, collectively both the album and the tracks themselves have once more provided further proof of the talent within Erasure and least not the vocals of one Andy Bell. Anyone with a genuine interest in purist Synth Pop will no doubt be more then pleased with this release and above all the return to form of the band itself. Sadly their will be ‘one or two’ within the scene that will dismiss both the album and Erasure for releasing it, but thankfully they will be far out numbered by those who will like the album itself. Erasure take a bow, Synthpoppers simply enjoy :-)
DANNY KING / email@example.com
‘SYNTHETIC VISION’ – synth pop fanzine
Artist Link: http://www.mute.com