& Today: Erasure - Nightbird
By Kevin Wierzbicki
Erasure was one of the most successful
synth-pop bands to emerge in the ’80s, racking up platinum with hits like
“A Little Respect,” “Who Needs Love Like That” and “Oh, L’amour.” Then
that juggernaut called “grunge” came along and left everybody else lying
in the weeds, wondering what happened. A couple of years ago, Erasure tested
the comeback waters by putting out a covers disc, Other People’s Songs.
The fan reaction was strong enough that work began on Nightbird,
the first Erasure album in almost eight years to feature original music.
Nightbird demonstrates that it is
possible for a band to age gracefully. Andy Bell (vocals) and Vince Clarke
(keyboards) have crafted an album that oozes confidence. It’s like the
pressure to have hits was taken off them during their hiatus, allowing
Nightbird to give an intimate peek into what makes the duo tick.
Bell’s favored subject matter is still the hopeful side of love relationships
and he spills emotion eloquently with “Let’s Take One More Rocket to the
Moon” and “Here I Go Impossible Again.” Bell directly acknowledges the
passage of time on “I’ll Be There,” singing, “When I was young I was selfish
darling/I wanted my own way.” Clarke, too, has matured. His synthesizer
compositions are less bubble-gummy and contain fewer odd noises than in
the old days. “Breathe” is his tour-de-force here, and as Nightbird’s
first single is a good re-introduction of Erasure to the masses (Billboard
has posted it at #1 “breakout” on their dance chart). Surely Nightbird
will draw naysayers claiming that the lads aren’t what they used to be.
No they’re not, nor are they trying to be, and that is infinitely refreshing.
The release of Nightbird comes as
the band prepares to celebrate their 20th anniversary. An American tour
is planned for Spring and Mute has also just released a DVD called The
Tank, the Swan and the Balloon Live! that was filmed in England in
Here I Go Impossible Again
Let’s Take One More Rocket to the Moon
I’ll Be There
Because Our Love is Real
Don’t Say You Love Me
All This Time Still
Falling Out of Love
I Broke it all in Two
I Bet you’re Mad at Me
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