RELEASE DATE – 21st JULY
You have no right even listening to music big you don’t know who ERASURE are. So let’s get straight to business here…
Apparently “The Neon is a place that lives in the imagination, that we – you and me – put in the real world… and this music takes you there.” These are not my words; these are the words of the electronic press kit that accompanies the advance press copies of the album. Let’s see/hear…
The album opens with the huge “Hey Now (think I Got a Feeling)” and it is a great opener. The bass sound is a monitor buster and there are vintage Vince Clarke sequences. There are sounds and vocals of Erasure at their best. If you follow electronic music you will, most likely, know that Mr Clarke has a massive collection of synths from all eras and the bass sound if very reminiscent of old Pro-One magnificence. The vintage sounds continue aplenty as the album takes the listener to that place in our imagination the PR folks have sold us.
Track 2 – “Nerves of Steel” – recalls the Chorus era in terms of feeling, sound selection and the unmistakable voice of Mr Andy Bell. A veritable tour de force of synth-pop perfection which was correctly released as a single in advance of the album launch.
There are other tracks and segments of tracks that take us back to the future with simple but, somehow, clever leadlines courtesy of the maestro that is Vince Clarke. More often that recent albums have fed us we are treated to the complexities contained in the unique vocals of Mr Bell. The choice of sounds, the simple complexities (I know) of the synth lines and the production more often than not, serve up a return to form for the dynamic duo (well, one is dynamic and the other is just a bloody synth genius)
Some of the song intros could seriously damage your hearing if you are set too high with the volume knob. There some Serious bass sounds on this record. Take for instance track 6. I don’t like; I do like it and then I’m not sure… but time and again the sound selection the musical outro gets me. It’s the Vince Clarke way; he’s had me hooked since 1981.
It’s not all electronic wizardry though. ‘New Horizons’ is a piano-based song. Sure, there are bits n pieces of synth running through it and the wonderful vocal talents of Andy Bell but it showcases the Erasure ability to stand back from heaving bass lines and clever sequences and still bring us a great tune.
As ‘The Neon’ approaches its conclusion “Careful What I Try to Do” reminds us of everything that brought us to Erasure in the first place. The bass sound, once again, absolutely kills it (in a good way) and the song demands to be played at high volume whilst you prat about pretending you are Andy Bell on stage… we all know you do it; its what the Erasure journey is all about! No? Just me then? The final track the album is upon us as I prepare to lift the photos and other bits n pieces that have fallen from the studio wall due to the bass sounds on The Neon. A slightly slower track brings us to the end and as you reflect on the album you unconsciously press play and you are back in the wonderful world of your imagination via the medium of The Neon.
The last couple of Erasure haven’t resonated with as much as I’d have liked but this is a return to form; The Neon is pure Vince & Andy perfection. A relatively short album that you will play again; probably as soon as you finish it the first time. Listen to it at low volume to savour the pure pleasure of the songwriting and then crank that amp as high as you and your neighbours can tolerate and feel that bass!!
The Neon is great synth-pop it’s big and well crafted and sounds like Erasure otta! I think I got a feeling that Erasure are back and the fans will be back in wonderland. The Erasure circus is back in town with drama aplenty.
THE NEON is available in the following formats.
Limited edition neon orange vinyl
Limited edition neon green cassette and CD in fold out orange foil sleeve
Download / stream