Erasure: World Be Live – album review
Erasure – World Be Live (Mute)
2CD, 3-vinyl and download
24-track live album recorded in London in February 2018 during the band’s World Be Gone tour. Ged Babey covers himself in glitter and trips the light fantastic
World Be Live completes a trilogy of albums that began in 2017 with the release of Erasure’s seventeenth studio album World Be Gone, and continued with World Beyond, their post-classical reworkings recorded in collaboration with Echo Collective and released in March this year…
…which , on a whim, I reviewed here, after seeing Erasure live for the first time..
Erasure occupy a unique position in British Pop music. For 33 years a part of Mute – the singularly most arty, cool & innovative UK independent label – yet at the same time loved by the general public as a great accessible synth-pop band who continue to fill venues and delight with their live shows and consistent musical output.
The show includes nearly all the “timeless pop hits Sometimes, Oh L’Amour, Ship of Fools, Chains of Love, Blue Savannah and Stop!” alongside a brilliant, camp and joyful cover of Blondie’s Atomic as well as selected tracks from World Be Gone. It’s just a non-stop rollercoaster of dance-pop, electro-ballads, upbeat cheese and gay anthems. Andy Bell is a charismatic queen-age daydream in between songs. Saucy, funny and unashamedly camp -but full of pride in Erasures 32 year legacy and grateful to the audience who stick by them.
Oh L’amour has a disco thud-thud-thud beat but Ship of Fools an almost Waltz-in-black Stranglers feel. The pace of the whole show, the songs and running order is what makes this such a perfect show and album. In their younger days there were probably far more beats per minute – but Erasure were never really a pure dance act. It’s the slower, soulful emotional but everyday songs of love, devotion, heartache and uncertainty which are at the core. The songs of hurt: picking yourself up and coming out fighting and confident, bloodied but unbowed. World Be Gone is a classic piece of songwriting and the new songs seamless fit into the set.
Vince Clarke is some kind of under-rated genius, the way he can replicate a whole orchestra, match a whole three piece band providing drum pattern, bass and lead lines. Simple, hooky, exquisite melody with echoes of Motown, Joe Meek, Abba and Kraftwerk, but unmistakably Erasure.
There is none of the arch irony of the Pet Shop Boys or the sleaze and throb of Depeche Mode, but the simplicity and beauty of the arrangements, the unusual way with beats and the Basseyesque drama of the songs make Erasure just unbeatable. This flawless live recording really does show them at their absolute best.
Pre Order from here
All words by Ged Babey