Erasure aired their anxieties regarding the divisive Trump and Brexit shockwaves devouring our world on their 2017 album: ‘World Be Gone’ which was their most overtly political and socially influenced collection of songs since the release of their ’Chorus’ album in 1991. Between ‘World Be Gone’ and the new album ‘The Neon’ Andy Bell and Vince Clarke had been quite happily working on their own projects. Bell with his Torsten albums and theatre work, Clarke remixing Miss Kittin, James Yorkston and Fujiya and Miyagi, collaborating with Paul Hartnoll of Orbital and getting involved with The Synthesizer Show radio programme. So, when Bell and Clark met up in Manhattan last summer to discuss working on a new Erasure album, both Bell and Clark were in a positive frame of mind. Neither artist wanted to repeat the downbeat formula of their previous album ‘World Be Gone.’
‘The Neon’ takes its name from Andy Bell’s fascination with all things neon. Whilst preparing for the new album, Bell found himself being drawn back to songs that he loved during the 1980’s, a time when he was in his twenties and also the start of Erasure on Mute Records. At the same time, Vince Clarke sat in his basement in Manhattan tinkering with his vast collection of synthesisers. Clarke was finding himself going back to experimenting with his older machines that had been gathering dust for many years. By rekindling his love of the warm sound made by his various old analogue synths, Clarke was onto something that would define the sound of ‘The Neon’ with Bell channelling golden era pop into the equation.
Album opener and first single to be lifted from it: ‘Hey Now (Think I Got a Feeling)’ is pure electro-pop bliss. This is the Erasure that many have grown to love. The remixes of ‘Hey Now (Think I Got a Feeling)’ are well worth investigating. Think back to the days when Erasure singles arrived backed with with at least three killer remixes. Well they’ve done it again. With the next two album tracks ’Nerves of Steel’ and ‘Fallen Angel’ the momentum of infectious electronic pop does not stop. This like hearing ‘The Innocents’ album for the first time. You just want to turn up the volume and dance around your living room. The next two tracks ‘No Point In Tripping’ and ’Shot A Satellite’ are as equally euphoric. ’Tower Of Love’ is a more reflective track and a breather before things start up again with the electronic pulse of ‘Diamond Lies’ followed by the slower piano driven ‘New Horizons.’ The remaining two tracks ‘Careful What I Try To Do’ and ‘Kid You’re Not Alone’ have a ‘Blue Savannah’ like ambience to them.
‘The Neon’ is an album that will proudly sit amongst Erasure’s best.
Out 21st August
Words: David Nobakht