In years to come, when pop historians look for evidence of
the state of pop music in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they could do worse
than slot this slightly awe-inspiring two disc set in the DVD player. It's all
there: the ridiculous hairstyles, garish design, antiseptic backdrops, clunky
keyboards, self-conscious camerawork and headache-inducing editing.
Unlike many of their contemporaries, experimenting with a
video technology that was still in its relative infancy, Erasure possessed a clear sense
of irony, and a self-consciousness of just how literal the early videos could
be. So, where Chains Of Love has lots of people suspended by, you've guessed
it, chains, A Little Respect makes fun of this tendency by showing someone
putting sugar into a cup of tea to the line, "I need some sweetness," and Vince
Clarke taking a rather large hammer to a large porcelain heart for the line, "You break my heart."
This post-modern self-consciousness would spread like a
rash through pop videos in the '90s but here it simply comes across as
charming. Its musical equivalent was the duo's Abba-esque EP, all four tracks
of which are represented here, including the wonderful Take A Chance On Me,
which gives the boys a chance to strut their stuff dressed up as Agnetha and
With every pop video included, plus a bonus disc of live
footage and promo films, this really is the ultimate Christmas present for every
Erasure fan, and the ideal complement to the recently-issued Hits compilation. And while the music may have dated, and the later videos for Make Me Smile and
Solsbury Hill are as insipid as the cover versions they accompanied, this really
does set new standards for DVD releases of archival material.