Synth-pop superstars Vince Clarke and Andy Bell – otherwise known as Erasure – make an optimistic and poppy return to the sound that shaped them into the artists they are today.
The Neon, Erasure’s 18th studio album, is charged with sentimentality, youthful energy and thoughtful, reflective songs. “It was about refreshing my love — hopefully, our love — of great pop”, lead singer Andy Bell explained in a statement. “I want kids now to hear these songs! I wanted to recharge that feeling that pop can come from anyone”.
The duo’s classic eighties-dance-music sound is well reflected in this album thanks to passionate, dramatic lyrics coupled with nostalgic, stuttering sci-fi synths and disco beats. The opening track Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) perfectly demonstrates their trademark upbeat disco-pop sound, finding Bell’s voice in fine form. The infectious disco energy does not slow down with the following two tracks Nerves of Steel and Fallen Angel.
A cheerful melody is sung over busy synths with a strong beat holding it all together in No Point in Tripping, while Shot A Satellite, arguably the best track on the album, beams with euphoric melodies and a tuneful chorus. The mood shifts with the slightly darker Tower Of Love. The group fuse the comforting tones with thoughtful lyrics to create a captivating song – a well-needed breather before energy levels pick back up again with the tuneful synth hooks of Diamond Lies.
The soul in Bell’s vocals makes for a sit-up-and-take-notice contribution to the hauntingly beautiful New Horizons. The lyrics “There will be new horizons / We will live to love again” are gracefully sung over a minimalist piano accompaniment.
A heavy bass intro that leads into Bell projecting over lively digital orchestration makes for another impressive track in Careful What I Try To Do. Bell’s voice then really shines in the final track Kid You’re Not Alone. A wistful opening of swelling synths sets the tone while the chorus lifts him into a stunning upper range.
Just like the neon lights that inspired the title of the album, The Neon offers us warmth and light. It’s a look into our past and future with glimmers of hope and happiness. Erasure offer us moments of joy, withThe Neon, luminous and alive. It is a musical reminiscent of their 35-year career, as well as a fresh and welcoming addition to their discography.