Light At The End Of The World
Following on from Andy's solo album Electric Blue and Union Street, an acoustic album comprised of reworked tracks from their back catalogue, 2007 saw Andy and Vince return with a purely electronic album of new material. The album could hardly get off to a better start in the form of the energetic Sunday Girl. Despite a slightly iffy intro and outro, this is still a terrific Erasure track. Vince's arrangement is the real winner here: musically the bridge is up there as being some of his finest ever work and there's a uniqueness to the track that only Vince could offer. The glitz and glamour of the song is also captured perfectly in the album's artwork. The debut single I Could Fall In Love With You follows and is an instantly infectious song thanks mostly to a strong melodic bridge and chorus. Despite this, the track is hampered somewhat by some ill-conceived frog-like synth sounds which are ever-present throughout the track, and whilst Andy sounds terrific throughout, the song is guilty of some rather bland lyrics. A good song, but not of the album's best.
Bouncing along at healthy pace, tunes such as 'I Could Fall in Love with You' and 'Fly Away' border on euphoria. The Eighties feel of the album is reminiscent of early Erasure; it melds the pain of heartbreak into an electric pop fantasy. For anyone after a bit of electro escapism, this is a winner.The Observer
Sucker For Love is next up and it's the most up-tempo song on the entire album. It is also one of the worst. Vince's arrangement sounds extremely dated, often resembling early 90s computer game music which is not well complimented by intrusive rave-style synths. The chorus is too repetitive and chant-like which sadly results in one of Erasure's worst ever album tracks. Thankfully this is not a sign of things to come as Storm In A Teacup gets the album back on course. This track is everything its predecessor is not: heartfelt, serious and home to some great lyrics. A Hideaway for the Twenty-First Century, the track talks about a boy's struggle coping with his mother's alcoholism. Vince's arrangement is perfectly pitched over yet more great vocals from Andy and shows a maturity to Erasure's writings that critics can often overlook. Fly Away is an uplifting melodic delight. Vince creates a bouncy backing full of trademark bleeps whilst Andy shows off his vocal range once again in soaring fashion. Lyrically it one of the best tracks the album has to offer whilst still being fundamentally another track about love. Beautiful and strong, it's an certain album highlight.
The retro sounding Golden Heart is another track that demonstrates Andy's fantastic vocal range and ability to hold a note. A strong track, but strangely hampered by a chorus doesn't live up to promise offered by a superior bridge. It also seems to end a little abruptly too. All is forgiven with the arrival of the anthemic How My Eyes Adore You. The verses have a trip-hop rhythm to them and the song soars flawlessly from this into the prolonged vocals of the chorus. Vince's arrangement is one of the strongest on the album and the chorus is wonderfully infectious and memorable. This superb track is followed by the equally excellent Darlene. With some interesting lyrics about the ups and downs of a relationship and a perfectly understated arrangement, this track is a real winner and best of all it doesn't resemble any other track the boys have recorded in their illustrious career. Unlike some other tracks on the album this song doesn't feel like it ends prematurely. When A Lover Leaves You follows a similar lyrics theme, with Andy stating that this track is about his break-up with long-term boyfriend Paul. Such a heartfelt theme really brings out the best in Andy's lyrics with this song really excelling in this department. Naturally Andy's vocals are soaring and beautiful throughout and Vince's arrangement compliments unobtrusively.
Fans' Best/Worst Of
- Sunday Girl
- I Could Fall In Love With You
- Storm In A Teacup
- Glass Angel
Glass Angel is the conclusion to the regular album and is a dark and menacing track that you wouldn't normally associate with Erasure. Despite its epic progressive nature and foreboding synth sounds (one sounds like a low flying aircraft) the song never really feels like it delivers. It's a track that appears to promise a lot but doesn't really go anywhere and it certainly outstays its welcome. A disappointingly weak track. The limited edition CD also includes two bonus tracks, the first of which being Be My Baby, which very much has a b-side feel to it. The song doesn't quite flow as smoothly as others tracks on the album and whilst it's not a bad song, it's far from being a classic. I Don't Know Why is a gem of a song, which progresses along at a terrific pace before reaching a wonderfully contagious chorus. Stronger than many of the regular tracks, this bonus track alone is reason enough to buy the limited edition album over the regular 10 track version.
Overall, Light At The End Of The World is a generally strong album, but it is not without its flaws. Musically, the album is very familiar throughout which is highlighted further by the fact that oddly not a single track fades out. Gareth Jones production is generally good, but sometimes the backing lyrics seem to get lost in the mix. The album is deliberately retro sounding and sounds more 1987 than 2007. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it does seem to be a bit of step backwards from the more contemporary sounding Nightbird. In Sucker For Love and Glass Angel you have two of the weakest ever Erasure album tracks. Yet despite all this, the album has enough charm and quality to rise above these criticisms. After some clumsy lyrics in Nightbird and Electric Blue, the lyrics on this album are amongst the strongest written in many a year. Couple this with excellent melodies, vocals and some strong arrangements and you can see why Light At The End Of The World is still a good pop album.
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