Vince Clarke promises us a disco extravaganza on this tour, and truth to advertising, this new set’s got plenty of shake. The slip-sliding slightly less-than-booming bass beat, a legacy from the new EDM and the in-betweeners such as Clarke and singer Andy Bell who got EDM to EDM, abound. But they’ve never let go of soul, and by extension, never let go of gospel, since soul popped the Almighty out of gospel’s subject line to replace it with the self, the Other, love and stuff. “Elevation” (no relation to the Television tune) reintroduces the Almighty to soul by equating that Almighty, with love. You can’t fight it, it gets higher. The Amen lies implied.
Elsewhere, though, scratch the bounce and you’ll find life, ground-bound and sticky, no news. Right after “Elevation” comes “Reason,” which includes “reason” as opposed to “belief,” and also an unsettling juxtaposition of “live” and “forgive.” Without the unnamed Other, the song’s protagonist could do neither of those things, and the uncertainty about what’s on the table to “forgive” just makes it spookier.
Andy Bell lost his partner of 25 years, not very long before he worked with Richard X on these lyrics, so a certain pall in places isn’t surprising (“But sorry won’t be heard or make amends/ I’d give my all to hold you once again.”) They’re serious about the party but neither willing, nor able, to lie about the pound-for-pound everybody pays to get there, and to stay. The soul abides; the body shells out.
Erasure will play a sold out concert at Humphreys by the Bay on Wednesday, October 22.
- Album: The Violet Flame
- Artist: Erasure
- Label: Mute
- Songs: (1) Dead Of Night (2) Elevation (3) Reason (4) Promises (5) Be The One (6) Sacred (7) Under The Wave (8) Smoke And Mirrors (9) Paradise (10) Stayed A Little Late Tonight