The Two Ring Circus
The Two Ring Circus is an album of two halves: the first half is comprised of extended remixes of tracks from The Circus album with the second half, The Touring Circus, being made up of live tracks recorded at a concert in Germany. Remixes in general are never as good as the originals and here the trend continues. Mixes of Sometimes, It Doesn't Have To Be, Victim Of Love and Don't Dance are found, none of which enhance upon the original versions, although thankfully they aren't radically different from the initial mixes and hence don't feel too unfamiliar. Not all the remixes are mediocre however, with the new versions of Hideaway and Leave Me To Bleed actually improving upon the mixes found on The Circus. Hideaway is a great song, with the overly simplistic musical backdrop of the original replaced by a rich and engaging arrangement. Leave Me To Bleed in its new form also has more polish than its original making these two remixes clear album highlights.
The Two Ring Circus is a time-killer release that actually stands very well on its own. Collecting remixes as well as re-recordings and live tracks, it at once makes for a good alternate take on the previous album as well as showing off further strengths of the duo.AllMusic Guide
Some other The Circus tracks find themselves re-recorded with a full orchestral accompaniment, namely If I Could and the marvellous Spiralling as well as Wonderland's My Heart... So Blue. These new versions are interesting and have an undeniable charm, but are no real improvement on the original versions. The album concludes with seven live tracks. Live renditions of Victim Of Love, The Circus, Spiralling, Sometimes, Oh L'amour (in the form of a fine extended performance), Who Needs Love (Like That) and the excellent Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! make for a pleasant conclusion.
There are slight differences between the tracklisting found on the UK and US versions of this album. The US version also includes the decent Gladiator Mix (also known as the Dave Powell Mix) of The Circus, but at the expense of the live version of this song on The Touring Circus portion of the album.
Although there is no original material on this album, and it's not overly popular with the fans, it does not mean this is a release to overlook. The number of tracks make for a longer than normal Erasure album and The Two Ring Circus still contains some enjoyable musical moments.
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