Erasure – World Beyond (Album Review)

Every time there is a new album being released by a classic or enduring band or artist, many scoop-hungry punters tend to jump into the conclusion that the band or artist in question is returning from the dead or from an age-old dormancy. They seemingly could not acknowledge that there are bands that have the sonic stamina and songwriting prowess to release a new album every few years – as examples, The Church (24 studio albums), Simple Minds (18), U2 (14), and Depeche Mode (14). These critics’ assumption is not only a disrespect to these band’s prolificacy, it is also a betrayal of their own ignorance.

For instance, when Erasure released World Be Gone last year, many write-ups claimed that the English duo have come back, when they have always been out there, actively gigging and releasing materials. In fact, since their formation in 1985, in London, England, the songwriters comprising Erasure – Andy Bell (vocals) and Vince Clarke (keyboardist) – have always been on a productive roll, unleashing a studio album every other year! That is just a serious feat! Obviously difficult for their contemporaries to contend with. In fairness, music is not a competition anyway. This is just to point out that, before one assumes, one should do his homework first. This way, he not only gives due credit to and fair assessment of the artist he is either lauding or criticizing, but also shows that he is really updated and in touch with the activities of the artists he is writing about.

To date, Erasure have already 17 albums on their sleeves – from 1986’s Wonderland to 2017’s World Be Gone; and another one is forthcoming! So, don’t be surprised. The tandem of Bell and Clarke is simply unstoppable.

Scheduled to be released on March 9, 2018, on Mute Records, Erasure’s eighteenth oeuvre is actually more than just an ordinary album. Titled World Beyond, it is an orchestral treatment of the entirety of its predecessor. All ten tracks of World Be Gone were rearranged and re-recorded with Echo Collective, a Brussels, Belgium-based collective of Post-Classical musicians.

World Beyond begins with a dramatic interpretation of “Oh What a World” – slower, eerie, and theatrical, giving more space and an organic background for Bell’s voice to float even higher. Following next is a heartrending “Be Careful What You Wish For!,” which sounds chilling with the piano and the strings taking the lead. Then there is a rustic, somber, and refreshing “World Be Gone,” whose original R&B flavor has been transformed into a breezy Classical quietude, albeit Bell’s usual silky vibrato remains as emotive and powerful.

The sonic aspect of “A Bitter Parting” becomes more complementary to its lyrical sentiments, owing to the beautiful and melancholic cello-and-violin interlude. The ensuing ballad “Still It’s Not Over” stays virtually the same, apart from the conversion of the synthesizer melodies to the real instruments that they were mimicking. After all, it has already captured the song’s essence, but here, Bell sounds doubly inspired.

Still in the same mood for balladry, Bell and Clarke tackle “Take Me Out of Myself” in a more loose and relaxed delivery. Next is “Sweet Summer Loving,” which comes across as a seeming lullaby with slightly ominous flourishes, courtesy of the ear-catching, imposing string crescendos. Erasure then turn the originally upbeat and poppy “Love You to the Sky” into a slow New Romantic love song, albeit retaining Bell’s playful vocal approach. The penultimate “Lousy Sum of Nothing” needs no further reintroduction, for it exudes the same emptiness and hopelessness; but the minimal instrumentation has made its lament even more hopeless – perfect, especially for the brokenhearted.

Finally, Erasure concluded their performance with Echo Collective with a rather tuneful and celebratory Baroque Pop-inspired rendition of the carrier single “Just a Little Love” – an apt way to close a Classical-stylized album.

While the concept of World Beyond is not really unique – for the same has already been applied recently by Erasure’s fellow Synthpop pioneers Visage and Midge Ure on their own works, specifically 2014’s Orchestral and 2017’s Orchestrated, respectively – Bell and Clarke’s decision to present their usual brand of Synthpop in an authentic Classical setting still awes and delights because it also showed Erasure in a less flamboyant light yet more stripped-down manner. Furthermore, it proved that there are still unexplored realms in their musicality and creativity that music enthusiasts can look forward to, maybe next year or, at the least, the foreseeable future. CrypticRock gives World Beyond 4 out of 5 stars.

Tour Dates:
February 16 – Cardiff, Wales – St David’s Hall (SOLD OUT)
February 18 – Aylesbury, England – Friars Waterside Theatre (SOLD OUT)
February 19 – Brighton, England – Dome (SOLD OUT)
February 20 – Guildford, England – G Live (SOLD OUT)
February 22 – Norwich, England – UEA (SOLD OUT)
February 23 – London, England – Eventim Apollo (SOLD OUT)
February 24 – London, England – Eventim Apollo (SOLD OUT)
February 27 – Cologne, Germany – E-Werk (SOLD OUT)
February 28 – Hamburg, Germany – Mehr Theater (SOLD OUT)
March 1 – Berlin, Germany – Columbiahalle (SOLD OUT)
March 3 – Leipzig, Germany – Haus Auensee (SOLD OUT)
March 4 – Munich, Germany – Tonhalle (SOLD OUT)
March 5 – Frankfurt, Germany – Batschkapp (SOLD OUT)
March 7 – Hanover, Germany – Capitol (SOLD OUT)
March 9 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Royal Arena
March 13 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia (SOLD OUT) *rescheduled from January 29
March 14 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia (SOLD OUT) *rescheduled from January 30
March 15 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia (SOLD OUT) *rescheduled from January 31
April 21 – Guadalajara, Mexico – Roxy Fest
May 2 – Lima, Peru – Anfieteatro Del Parque De La Exposicion
May 3 – Santiago, Chile – Movistar Arena
May 5 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Luna Park
May 6 – Rosario, Argentina – Metropolitano
May 8 – Asunción, Paraguay – Paseo La Galeria
May 10 – Curitiba, Brazil – Teatro Positivo
May 11 – São Paulo, Brazil – Espaco Das Americas
May 12 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Vivo Rio
July 6 – Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore
July 7 – St. Petersburg, FL – Mahaffey Theater
July 8 – Orlando, FL – Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
July 10 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
July 11 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
July 13 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater
July 14 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater (SOLD OUT)
July 15 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater (SOLD OUT)
July 17 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
July 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Merriam Theater
July 20 – Washington, DC – Warner Theater
July 21 – Washington, DC – Warner Theater
July 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Byham Theater
July 24 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theater
July 25 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live
July 27 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre (SOLD OUT)
July 28 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
July 29 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre
July 31 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat
August 1 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
August 3 – Dallas, TX – Toyota Music Factory
August 4 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Centre
August 5 – San Antonio, TX– Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
August 7 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Live (SOLD OUT)
August 8 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Live
August 10 – Denver, CO – Opera House
August 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kingsbury Hall
August 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kingsbury Hall (SOLD OUT)
August 14 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre (SOLD OUT)
August 15 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum Theatre
August 17 – San Francisco, CA – Masonic Auditorium
August 18 – San Francisco, CA – Masonic Auditorium
August 19 – San Francisco, CA – Masonic Auditorium (SOLD OUT)
August 21 – Santa Barbara, CA – Arlington Theatre
August 22 – San Diego, CA – Symphony Hall (SOLD OUT)
August 24 – Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater
August 25 – Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater (SOLD OUT)
August 26 – Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater (SOLD OUT)

Purchase World Beyond:

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ALfie vera mellaAuthor posts

Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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