by Paul Johnson
When you have been a fan of a group for over 30 years and their music has played an important role in your transition from childhood to adulthood, providing a sanctuary and confidence in a young gay man’s life, it can be unnerving to hear new material. Will a new album live up to the decades of expectations and find a place in your heart? Such is the case for me for Erasure’s new album “World Be Gone,” due to be released May 19.
Will I like it from the first listen? Will it become an anthem for my life as their previous material has?
The first single, “Love You to the Sky,” has a safe, catchy sound — both very familiar to Erasure fans and reassuring that our boys are still kicking. Once you get past the first track, however, is where you will find the true joy and even, dare I say, a little surprise as to the gem this album has turned out to be. Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are in fine form and still at the top of their game. Throughout “World Be Gone” there is a maturity and confidence on display, the lyrics are reflective of the turbulent times in which we are living and in the fear we see around us. But in true Erasure fashion, an overwhelming sense of optimism and hope comes through.
For about a week I have surrounded myself with and listened to the entire album numerous times. The title track, with a haunting poetry of words and deliciously distinctive Erasure synth pop bliss, has melted my heart and is a standout track on the album. It is not the stereotypical high-energy Erasure song, but slower, quieter, more delicate, and aching in its beauty. It is the type of song which could only result from years of trust and collaboration between Bell and Clarke. Other standouts include “Be Careful What You Wish For,” and “Still It’s Not Over” — an ode to the battles still being waged in the fight for equality and freedom to be who we are.
“World Be Gone” is just what I needed to hear at this very time and place — it is a love letter to fans and brings a message of hope and optimism for the world and our future.
(Erasure has indicated the band’s intention to tour the United States in 2018. Let us hope this brings them back to Salt Lake City so we can hear this excellent new work performed live.)