- 12 Aug 22
Vince Clarke glows and growls intriguing release from synth-pop heroes
When Erasure’s 18th studio album, The Neon, hit the Top 10 following its release in 2020, it was the duo’s highest charting in 26 years. Bright, vibrant pop exploded from a record that was warmly received from both critics and fans alike.
Then, with time on his hands in the grip of global chaos, synth magician Vince Clarke began to experiment with material from The Neon. The results are far removed from standard Erasure fare – indeed, Day-Glo is closer to pop-noir or post-punk. The flamboyant Andy Bell takes a back seat, with Clarke putting his Yamaha synth resolutely and unapologetically front and centre.
Opener ‘Based On A True Story’ is moody and cinematic, as Clarke gives a very clear nod to his origins as one of the founder members of Depeche Mode. It takes until the fourth song (‘The Conman’), before any shred of conventional lyrical input from Bell starts to surface. Even then, it is distinctly subtle.
On one of the best tracks, ‘3 Strikes And You're Out’, Bell sings, “What you see is what you get”. It couldn’t be further from the truth. This album is a long way from the make-up and feather boas of ‘Take A Chance On Me’ and Erasure’s Abba-Esque adventure.
Unlike their previous release, the feel here is neither celebratory nor euphoric. This LP is introspective and challenges the very parameters that Erasure are renowned for, but that is part of its appeal. Vince Clarke has taken the shards of rainbow tinted glass from The Neon and produced a treasure trove of surprises.