ALBUM OF THE WEEK
No longer making a big American splash outside of its fanbase and alternative radio — and about to be turned into yesterday’s news thanks to the techno/hardcore explosion — Erasure on Chorus concentrated on just sounding like itself.
With the notable exception of the hypersassy “Love to Hate You,” Bell steers away from campiness in favor of a series of gentler meditations and impassioned pleas. “Chorus” itself is another great Erasure anthem, Clarke providing just the right combination of beat and melody for Bell’s surprisingly effective tackling of environmental degredation.
Other cuts like “Breath of Life” and “Turns the Love to Anger” keep the quicker, more specifically high-paced dance pace going, but most of the best cuts come with the quieter numbers. Happily, rather than revamping the basic ballad format often used on earlier albums, Clarke keeps throwing in unexpected touches while Bell comes up with some inspired and often affecting lyrics.
“Am I Right?” reflects on love and aging with a gentle tone and soft hip-hop beat, while “Joan” adds a touch of gospel in Bell’s backing harmonies to a more prominent breakbeat with equally fine results. Also intriguing is how the final songs of the album, while individually not among the band’s best, still blend together to provide an excellent conclusion, from the wistful philosophy of “Siren Song” and the romantic entanglement of “Perfect Stranger” to the concluding “Home.” Something of a sequel to “Hideaway” set a few years later, Bell sings of continuing to follow his own path over lovely backing from Clarke, a fine way to end the album.
[ Review by Ned Raggett ]
Tracklist (favorites in bold)
- Waiting for the Day
- Breath of Life
- Am I Right
- Love to Hate You
- Turns the Love to Anger
- Siren Song
- Perfect Stranger
Bittersweet Earnest Intimate Plaintive Poignant Reflective Searching Sentimental Wistful Yearning Exuberant Gleeful Lively Passionate Carefree Celebratory Energetic Fun Playful Stylish