Wednesday, May 23
We all have our guilty pleasures. That I liked ERASURE in the '80s hardly seems to qualify, to my mind; a LOT of people liked Erasure in the '80s. A lot of people liked "Chains of Love." And "A Little Respect." And "Oh L'amour." Not to mention PET SHOP BOYS. And DEPECHE MODE. Absolutely no shame in it. None whatsoever. And if you insist in saying that there is, then I'm going to take all my Members Only jackets, my lace-less Adidas high-tops, my acid-washed Jordache jeans, and my closetful of peach and aqua Izods, wad them up into a big ball of I-will-NOT-feel-shame-for-my-'80s-existence fury, and shove them up your big, fat, ignorant ass. (And you better believe I'm not going to bother removing the long-handled plastic comb from the back pocket of those Jordache jeans before I do. No, sir. Not a chance.)
Now, the fact that I CONTINUED to like Erasure after their sell-by date of, say, 1994, may well damn me to that "guilty pleasures" Venus flytrap I was referring to at the beginning. But if so: So be it. Sure, ANDY BELL and VINCE CLARKE haven't been selling as many records; haven't been having hits. They've even turned to can-this-career-be-saved stopgaps like cover records and acoustic re-recordings of their older, better-known material. But 2005's generally low-key NIGHTBIRD struck many critics (and, no doubt, many Erasure fans) as a comeback of sorts -- even a bit of a revelation. The revelation, ultimately, being that the album wasn't a "coming back" to the dancefloor, but a mature exploration of life/lust/love/loss that even straight people might appreciate, if not entirely embrace.
Well, here it is 2007, and Erasure clearly do not intend to "Stop!" the "Drama!." Maybe they're just deluding themselves on a "Ship of Fools," or maybe they're praying for a bit of "Heavenly Action," but they still have "Breath of Life." No matter how many people "Surround [Them]" and shout, "We 'Love to Hate You'." (Okay, enough... even my '80s incarnation would be sickened by this....)
All I'm really trying to say is that Andy and Vince released their latest CD, LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD, yesterday on MUTE RECORDS. Stylistically, the new disc straddles the line between NIGHTBIRD's lush introspection and some of the duo's earlier, dancier material. Unfortunately -- for me, at least -- this effort seems a bit embalmed and by-the-numbers. After over 20 years together, it's no surprise that these guys can competently construct songs. But the ones on display here -- whether up- or down-tempo -- never quite come to life. Andy Bell's lyrics no doubt have deepened over the past few years, but Erasure -- unlike Pet Shop Boys -- were never an outfit that much relied on words. And, sadly, it may be the case that Vince Clarke has simply run out melodies and synthesizer tricks, and that he has had to resort to recycling.
Still and all, Erasure remain a lightning rod of nostalgia for this particular '80s teen, and I found LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD's "recycling" the most effective on the album's opening and closing tracks. You can judge for yourselves below....
First, though, it should be noted that Erasure will be busy boys on the road this year. They'll be joining CYNDI LAUPER, DEBBIE HARRY, THE DRESDEN DOLLS, THE GOSSIP, and THE MISSHAPES on the TRUE COLORS TOUR, which is in support of the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. They'll then transition into their own tour in July, beginning in the U.S.
ERASURE on MySPACE.
ERASURE on the True Colors tour >>>
08 June 07/Las Vegas/MGM Grand/Garden Arena
09 June 07/Salt Lake City/USANA Amphitheatre
10 June 07/Denver/Red Rocks Amphitheatre/Red Rocks Park/Morrison, CO
12 June 07/Chicago/Auditorium Theatre
13 June 07/Columbus/Schottenstein Center
15 June 07/Atlantic City/Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
16 June 07/Boston/Bank of America Pavilion
17 June 07/Washington/Merriweather Post Pavilion
18 June 07/New York/Radio City Music Hall
19 June 07/Toronto/Molson Amphitheatre
21 June 07/Atlanta/Chastain Park Amphitheatre
23 June 07/Dallas/Smirnoff Music Centre
24 June 07/Houston/Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
27 June 07/San Diego/SDSU Open Air Theater
29 June 07/San Francisco/Greek Theatre
30 June 07/Los Angeles/Greek Theatre
ERASURE on their own tour >>>
Fri 7/6/Tampa, FL/Carol Morsani Hall
Sat 7/7/Miami, FL/James L. Knight Center
Sun 7/8/Orlando, FL/Hard Rock Live!
Fri 7/13/San Juan, Puerto Rico/Coliseo Roberto Clemente
Sat 7/14/Altos de Chavon/Dominican Republic/The Amph @ Altos de Chavon
Mon 7/16/Mexico City, Mexico/Metropolitan Theater
Thu 7/19/Monterrey, Mexico/Arena Monterrey
Sat 7/21/Anaheim, CA/Grove of Anaheim
Tue 7/24/Seattle, WA/Moore Theatre
Fri 7/27/Minneapolis, MN/First Avenue
Sat 7/28/Milwaukee, WI/Pabst Theater
Sun 7/29/Kansas City, MO/Uptown Theater
Tue 7/31/Detroit, MI/Music Hall
Wed 8/1/Cleveland, OH/House of Blues
Fri 8/3/Brooklyn, NY/McCarren Park Pool
[MP3] "Sunday Girl"
[MP3] "Glass Angel"
BONUS TRACKS POST-ERASURE-SELL-BY-DATE OF, SAY, 1994 >>>
[MP3] "Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day" 
[MP3] "Don't Say Your Love is Killing Me" 
[MP3] "Freedom" 
[MP3] "All This Time Still Falling Out of Love"