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Yesterday & 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 1992.

CD Info 

Erasure - Nightbird
Label: Mute
No Doubt
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
Sweet Surrender
I Bet you’re Mad at Me
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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