Erasure, World Beyond - album review
It's Erasure, but not as we've heard them before.
Showing an ear for doing something different and creating sounds less expected, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have taken last year's offering World Be Gone and spun it around.
They've linked up with Belgian post-classical musicians Echo Collective and reworked the record from start to finish, coupling Bell's instantly recognisable vocals with sounds more synonymous with Birmingham Symphony Hall than the discos of 80s popular culture.
It shows a rawer, more vulnerable side to Erasure. While that synthpop dance vibe you associate with the hits can often splurge bravado this approach is much more delicate.
Take opener Oh What A World. Already quite morose in its original imagining, now it sounds almost like a warning, a siren luring unsuspecting sailors to their death.
We gave that original record a listen here at Star towers and weren't overly enamoured. But this rethinking certainly hits a better spot with its imagination.
Classical crossovers are a pretty big thing now. The Vitamin String Quartet have long made a career of covers from other genres. While last Thursday, Finnish quartet Apocalyptica braved the snow to bring their reimagining of Metallica's biggest tunes to Birmingham and renowned DJ Pete Tong has been giving the Ibiza classics a new lease of life via an orchestra.
Now, this is something new(ish) again.
Be Careful What You Wish For! doesn't ring true here. The strings accompanying the chorus are very enchanting to listen to. It's an emotive part of the record.
The rethinking of Love You To The Sky works too. Bell's more rushed vocals are helped along by the soft piano provided by Echo Collective.
And Just A Little Love sounds like something from a Lloyd Webber musical with its uplifting and buoyant feel.
It's not all engrossing. Some tracks do feel too much like that song in every musical where the hero realises what they have to do to get the girl/earn respect/win the prize.
But when it works it's a treat. And one that unleashes a whole new layer of sound from Erasure's songwriting.