Erasure - Nightbird

Erasure's 11th album "Nightbird" has more in common with Abba that you'd initially realize. The Abba album i'm referring to is "The Visitors", a dark, brooding analysis of destructive relationships and tormented love affairs. While "Nightbird" is clearly Erasure with the trademark synths and rich emotive vocals, gone is the campness of yore, the sense of fun and mischievous undercurrent you'd expect from such an entertaining duo who've been together for almost twenty years. Maturity, growth and ambitious scope make "Nightbird" an interesting listening experience.

"Lets' Take One More Rocket To The Moon" is a torch song, electronica style with Andy Bell's vocal the perfect pitch to Vince Clarke's electro ballad synthesizer. The lyrics are quite romantic but the song is restrained in it's skill by expressing so much without a hint of unnecessary mawkish sentimentality. The luscious backing vocals give this track an epic quality.

More in the way of vintage 80s Erasure is "I'll Be There" which a real unashamed party track. It may be throwaway, but when it's this enjoyable you can dance your cares away without any inhibitions whatsoever. The chorus has a sing a long quality which would make a fine candidate for the duo's next hit single (fingers crossed).

"Don't Say You Love Me" is another love song (a recurring theme on the album). It's a sad tale of regret, missed opportunities and hasty decisions, which enables the listener to empathize on these seemingly autobiographical lyrics. It has a haunting melody, which is welcome and this new side to Erasure is beginning to grow on me. It feels natural and is obviously a brave direction to take. "I Broke It All In Two" reminds me an awful lot of Vince's old band Yazoo with it's simple song structure and controlled melodramatic sheen. The lyrics again, pull no punches, but are never self pitying. It may not have the immediacy of say "Victim Of Love", but it's proudly in the pop tradition of Erasure.

"Nightbird" is a real grower of an album and takes its time for you to get used to. After a few listens you'll appreciate it's subtle shades of complexity and over eleven songs you'll no doubt be in awe at the depth and range Erasure possess.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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