Album: Erasure

Nightbird, MUTE
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The Independent Culture

With their previous two releases being an album of cover versions and an album of acoustic versions of some of their own back catalogue, Erasure have been treading water for several years now. By their own admission, the pair's last few albums were "a bit moody and down", a character they hope to dispel with Nightbird, whose melodies and arrangements hark back to the group's earliest recordings, but whose lyrics focus once again on varieties of romantic perplexity - from the tearful uncertainty of "No Doubt" to the self-critical "I Broke It All in Two", which finds Andy Bell crooning, "How could I be so cruel/ After all you've done for me?/ I should go back to school/ To learn the ways of love". The anthemic first single from the album, "Breathe", was, according to Bell, an attempt to emulate the "really simple but quite hypnotic" manner of songs by The Corrs or Dido, which he effects through an almost illiterate bluntness: "Breathe/ I believe/ Empty without you/ I can't live without you". Vinc

With their previous two releases being an album of cover versions and an album of acoustic versions of some of their own back catalogue, Erasure have been treading water for several years now. By their own admission, the pair's last few albums were "a bit moody and down", a character they hope to dispel with Nightbird, whose melodies and arrangements hark back to the group's earliest recordings, but whose lyrics focus once again on varieties of romantic perplexity - from the tearful uncertainty of "No Doubt" to the self-critical "I Broke It All in Two", which finds Andy Bell crooning, "How could I be so cruel/ After all you've done for me?/ I should go back to school/ To learn the ways of love". The anthemic first single from the album, "Breathe", was, according to Bell, an attempt to emulate the "really simple but quite hypnotic" manner of songs by The Corrs or Dido, which he effects through an almost illiterate bluntness: "Breathe/ I believe/ Empty without you/ I can't live without you". Vince Clarke's arrangements are similarly direct, their simple, repetitive synth modulationss and pumping hi-NRG beats eschewing any embellishments that might draw them away from the mainstream. So while Nightbird is a more instantly engaging affair than their last few albums, its charms evaporate with undue haste.

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