British electropop duo Erasure, comprising of gay icon Andy Bell and his musical partner Vince Clarke, have been making hit electronic dance albums since 1986.
Their successful formula of new wave synthpop saw them release three consecutive No 1 albums in the late 80s and early 90s, and put them among the iconic bands in the heyday of the New Romantics like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.
Their latest offering, The Violet Flame, comes just 10 months after their previous release, Snow Globe. This new record is a little like standing in an Ibiza night club in 2014, with one leg in the Tardis, which is transporting you back to 1987.
Opening with the somewhat dated sounding track Dead of Night, the album kicks off sounding as if Erasure have made an album that could soundtrack Miami Vice 30 years too late.
Fortunately, the following track, Elevation, has a much more contemporary club theme. Reminiscent of Moves Like Jagger, and not in a bad way, it would not be out of place in any city night club, showing that Clarke and Bell still have their finger on the electropop pulse of today’s music scene.
Next up is Reason, which is a combination of both the best of the 80s and worst of the Noughties. However, with a pulsating rhythm and chanting chorus, this one holds the promise of being a dancefloor favourite on the nightlife scene, just like so many other Erasure songs in the past.
The Violet Flame closes with its two best tracks: Paradise, which is lyrically strong and also keeps building throughout it’s three and a half minutes, but does not really go anywhere. The final track Stayed a Little Late Tonight is also a wellworded electronic ballad about hopelessly hanging on to something that is no longer there.
All things considered, The Violet Flame may not be Erasure’s most daring effort, and does somewhat shakily bounce back between two generations here and there, but it is a good example of a band who are able to produce music that still sounds relevant, while keeping their original trademark sound in tact. For that reason alone, it is worthy of a listen.