Erasure - Other People's Songs

You may find this hard to believe but erasure have been together for nearly twenty years. When synthesizer supremo Vince Clarke (who has previously worked with Alison Moyet, Feargal Sharkey and was in the original line up of Depeche Mode) auditioned a singer for his latest project he had seen 41 potential vocalists. The 42nd was an unknown 20 year old from Peterborough. His name was Andy Bell. The couple hit it off immediately and so in 1983 Erasure was born. During the late eighties and early nineties Erasure had a string of hit singles. Who can forget the classics "Who Needs Love Like That", "Sometimes", Victim Of Love" and "A Little Respect" covered last year by Wheatus.

Their new album "Other People's Songs" are covers chosen by Andy and Vince from their own childhood memories and from their personal record collections. The first single taken from the album, the Peter Gabriel song "Solsbury Hill" gave Erasure their first top ten hit of the century. This isn't the first time the duo have attempted covers. The 1992 Abba-Esque EP paid tribute to the Swedish pop stars well before Bjorn Again tribute acts and West End Musicals, Mamma Mia, anyone? However a whole album of covers from a wide range of songwriters just doesn't work. It just feels cheap, rushed, half-hearted.

"Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)" originally recorded by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel is a bit cabaret, glorified karaoke if you like. It doesn't improve on the original and is rather cheesy as we've come to expect from the band. Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways" is surprisingly restrained. The musical backing is inventive, but not too intrusive and it's a good opportunity for Bell to show of his impressive vocal range. The old Elvis standard "Can't Help Falling In Love" is given a camp makeover and it's strange coincidence that another synthesizer duo with a flamboyant singer and reticent keyboard player also cover Elvis (The Pet Shop Boys with "Always On My Mind). In Erasure's case it's well produced, pleasant and extremely forgettable. Personally I can't see the point in covering the one hit wonder by the Buggles i.e. Video Killed The Radio Star, but Erasure must do. A pointless re-hash of a novelty song with Robot voice by Mick Martin - it say's it all!!!

As much as I love Erasure and I do love Erasure, I just found this covers album a little bit disposable and has me pining for the next original Erasure album.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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