It’s been over a quarter of a century since ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist Vince Clarke teamed up with Andy Bell to lay the foundations of hit-making machine Erasure. Even back then few would’ve predicted the influence they would amass 25 years on. From the flow of Metronomy to the dance thump of Cut Copy, Erasure’s pioneering sound – for better or worse – continues to saturate an electro worshipping market.
Erasure’s first album in four years sees them treading a familiar path; smooth synths over an unrelenting drum machine. After such a long and fruitful partnership, Clarke and Bell know what works. More importantly, they still know their audience. As a result, Tomorrow’s World appeals to fans of Erasure’s later albums just as much as it appeases those who swooned along to A Little Respect in 1988.
Guided by the steady hand of Frankmusik at the controls, Tomorrow’s World quickly induces a mood of dancefloor shuffle. The one-two opening of Be With You and Fill Us With Fire are as wildly hypnotic as anything they’ve recorded previously. The latter track in particular churns with a pace that comfortably balances on the tightrope between nostalgic and contemporary. What Will I Say When You’re Gone curbs the vibe before the middle section of the LP cruises into mid-tempo territory with You’ve Got To Save Me Right Now and When I Start to (Break It All Down).
Lyrically the album offers few surprises and at times borders on well worn cliché (case and point: “fall asleep like drowning in the ocean” from What Will I Say…). Though, to be fair, Erasure never banked their success on the back of their lyrical depth. In fact, in the past it would often take a backseat to their drum machine or trademark synth.
Perhaps the biggest exception on the album is Then I Go Twisting, a song that spurts venom on today’s dance scene with “then I go inside / bored of this modern town / sick of this techno / monophonic sounds” and “think I’m going schizo / bury my head in sand”. It could also be inferred as a veiled swipe at those who have cashed in on Erasure’s sound. Being the veterans they are, Clarke and Bell are in a better position than most to take such a hostile stance.
The aptly titled Just When I Thought It Was Over rounds out the album, easing with an atmospheric tinge that fans have become accustomed to. In many ways the song typifies Tomorrow’s World and reaffirms Erasure’s penchant for delivering effortless synth grooves. At the same time it never quite feels that Bell or Clarke are stretching beyond their means. Although easily accessible, none of their tracks seem destined to bother the singles charts, especially if by-the-numbers first single When I Start To (Break It All Down) is anything to go by. Still, if the aim is to stick within the status quo of the band and their audience, then Erasure has achieved their goal and then some.
At a time when many nostalgic groups are either peddling the oldies circuit or struggling to retain the magic of their sound, Erasure is a clear cut above. As pioneers of an electro movement that remains in stunning vogue, they are continuing to influence and shape the industry. With releases like Tomorrow’s World they are also expanding on a virtuosic discography that is the equal to any of their contemporaries.