Erasure – Snow Globe (Mute Records)
Released 11th November 2013
With less than 50 shoplifting days left until Christmas, we unwrap some festive trademark electronic pop from Erasure. But will it be playing at the Louder Than War Christmas party?
The ghost of Christmas past would show Erasure a time when they ruled the charts, and released number one selling albums one after the other.
The dire vision of the future Erasure seem keen to avoid is one that sees them reliving former glories night after night on 80s themed tours.
The present sees the advent of the electronic duo’s new Christmas themed album, Snow Globe.
The thirteen tracks on Snow Globe comprise of several brand new Erasure tracks and a selection of classic Christmas songs transformed by the electronic alchemy of Vince Clarke.
Opener Bells of Love is classic Erasure. Warm synths and angelic vocals juxtaposed with melancholic optimism. The musical bells give a nod to Christmas, but Andy Bell’s proclamation “I don’t believe in your religion” tells a different story. It’s obvious already this is not a throwaway festive cash in, but another great Erasure album.
New single Gaudete with its crunching beats and monastic chimes and chants turns a 15th century carol into 21st century electro-industrial.
Andy Bell really begins to shine on Make It Wonderful. The texture and warmth that was perhaps lacking in recent years has returned to his voice. Vince Clarke has noticed this too, and provides a more subtle backdrop than usual to push vocals to the fore.
The former Depeche Mode maestro gets plenty of opportunity to shine himself. He gives Silent Night the Vangelis treatment with his beautiful synths glittering in the dark, wigs out to the pumping beats of Loving Man and gives The Christmas Song an 8-bit video game soundtrack while Andy roasts his chestnuts on the open fire.
Despite the heavy sprinkling of Christmas tunes, this doesn’t really seem just like your regular Christmas album. It sounds like a real new proper Erasure album. They could have just finished the album with their haunting version of White Christmas. Unfortunately however last track Silver Bells is a bit like turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day.
All Erasure want for Christmas is a return to their 80s heyday when having a top ten hit was as common as kisses under the mistletoe. On this form they deserve to but unfortunately for them while they have maintained a steady path of pop perfection, musical tastes for many have moved on. Hopefully there’s still room for the electronic stalwarts to ply their trade for many more Christmasses to come.
And so as Vince Clarke and Andy Bell observed, God Bless Us, Every One!