Stuck In the Past
On World Be Gone, Erasure come off as nostalgic and dated. You can tell that they yearn for the sounds of the ’80s with their synthpop ballads. Sometimes this works for them, but, more often than not, it falls a little flat. For Andy Bell and Vince Clark, who have been together since 1985, it’s hard not to pull from the sounds of the past, but leaning on them like a crutch doesn’t get them anywhere new unfortunately.
Despite their newest album’s shortcomings, parts of World Be Gone are definitely enjoyable. The only caveat is that these moments start to grow further and further apart as the album goes on. Unsurprisingly, the first track of the album is one of the best. “Love You to the Sky” features some of the best vocals on the record along with an uplifting instrumental that really lifts one into the sky. Another of the album’s stronger tracks is “Oh What a World.” The rumbling, low synths and vocals really come together to deliver a harder sound than that heard on most of World Be Gone
While Bell’s voice is on point for most of the album, the heavy-handed lyrics sometimes bring down otherwise solid tracks. “World Be Gone” offers an infectious beat and impressive singing, but the message gets muddied by the over-complex lyrics. Erasure also seem to encounter some difficulty matching up the emotions they are trying to convey with the tone of the music. An example of this is on “A Bitter Parting,” where the lyrics and tone of Bell’s voice don’t really convey the image of a bitter parting.
World Be Gone surely isn’t a bad album; it’s just one that doesn’t try many new things. For those who are huge fans of Erasure, you may very well love this LP. But if you are a new listener, it’s hard to find a reason why this project stands above other synthpop albums that have come out in recent years. Erasure have certainly passed their heyday in the ’80s so, in the future, it would be best to leave that part of their history behind. Their efforts work much better when they are delivering songs that are influenced by the past, but blaze their own trail, such as “Oh What a World.” Let’s hope that Erasure innovate more in the future.