Album Review: Erasure – The Neon

Erasure The Neon album artwork

Erasure was one of a number of synth-heavy bands, riding that mostly awesome keyboard wave in the 1980s, that everyone seemingly listened to back then.

Especially the girls!

Erasure, OMD, Electronic, New Order, and Pet Shop Boys – just a partial list. Sometimes I had a hard time figuring out who was who. Members from Pet Shop Boys and New Order created Electronic while OMD and Erasure had similar pop sounds that quickly lifted your spirits. You could probably say the same for the abundance of hair metal bands, too.

At any rate, as high school faded in the rear view so did many of these bands not only for me but on radio and the general music landscape. Unless you intentionally followed most of these acts you’d likely have no idea most continue writing, recording and touring today.

Fun fact: Erasure founder Vince Clarke was influenced by OMD and involved with the formation of Depeche Mode and Yaz.

Erasure might have faded but they did not go away. The London-based pop-duo of Andy Bell and Clark from England celebrates 35 years this year and released The Neon today – their 18th studio album. Ya, I know, I had the same reaction.

Bell, the lead vocalist, and Clark, who manages the keyboards and writes most of the music, stick with what they know best for The Neon and it works quite well. The 10-track 37 minute album relies heavily on synths, drum machines, Bell’s flowing vocals and sometimes pretty addictive arrangements combined with quintessential  pop chords.

Advertisements

Erasure The Neon Album Review

“Hey Now (I Think I Got A Feeling)” offers a great opener to The Neon with some really great hooks. A fun song to start.  “Nerves of Steel” darkens the tone a bit sounding more like an old Depeche Mode song. “Fallen Angel” keeps the Depeche Mode flavor but with more vigor. “No Point in Tripping” brings a great rhythm and gets addictive fast but if you don’t pay attention “Shot A Satellite” sounds a little the same before it moves forward with its own rhythm.

The second half of The Neon  gets a pretty heavy start with “Tower of Love,” a slower and more methodical song then the rest with a deliberate undertone. Bell carries this one vocally reaching high and low throughout while rising above the background keyboards. Expect a single out of “Diamond Lies” well, if this were the 80s. Another fun and simple pop song.

“New Horizons” features a different Erasure at least from what I’m used to. Admittedly out of the loop somewhat on recent albums, this stripped down, mostly straight forward vocal approach works very well, has pleasant lyrics and will be a gem live.

The keyboard laden (ok, all of them are but listen and you’ll understand) “Careful What I Try To Do” hearkens back to the 80s but with little dynamic melody. Not so much filler but a typical “B” side song. And in a similar vein, “Kid You’re Not Alone” closes out The Neon as Bell harmonizes more vocally along with repetitive background synth.

Don’t expect to find any smash singles ala “A Little Respect,” “Oh l’amour” or “Sometimes” to erase any memories of the past but a deeper listen should pull out some classic Erasure songs that will find their way on Pop! The First 60 Hits.

Grade: B

Erasure The Neon Track List:

  1. Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling)
  2. Nerves of Steel
  3. Fallen Angel
  4. No Point In Tripping
  5. Shot a Satellite
  6. Tower of Love
  7. Diamond Lies
  8. New Horizons
  9. Careful What I Try To Do
  10. Kid You’re Not Alone