By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Erasure are a force of positive energy and creativity, not to mention arguably '80s and '90s pop royalty. Kaleidoscopic live performances, flamboyant costumes and elevating pop hits have solidified their pop-star status over the last quarter of a century. Frankly, modern pop acts like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj ain't got nothing on Vince Clarke and Andy Bell.
The duo has been writing glittering pop songs together since 1985 and they remain one of the most successful British pop acts of all time. Give 'er a Google: From 1986 to 1997 the legendary electro-pop duo from London scored 24 consecutive Top 20 hits in their homeland.
Next month, they'll release their 14th LP. Called Tomorrow's World, the disc is the duo's first release in four years.
"The title comes from a '60s TV program called Tomorrow's World on the BBC," explains Clarke, who, in addition to performing in Erasure and holding the distinction of being one of Depeche Mode's founding members, also makes up half of the synth-pop duo Yazoo. "It was all about future technology. They would feature things like cell phones and microwave ovens, but, y'know, when they were brand new. So we just thought it was an apt title for a record."
Sure enough, the album does feature a new sheen. Two years in the making, the album was produced by 25-year-old British electro-pop artist Frankmusik, who was all of nine months old when the band's first album, Wonderland, was released in October 1986.
"We were making a list of potential producers — people that we wanted to work with — and some of our fans suggested Frankmusik," Clarke says. "Our tour manager also came up with his name, and then we kind of looked into what he was doing, the kind of records that he was making. We decided that it would be an interesting match. His sound is quite different from ours. I mean, he's all electronic. His sound is much bigger than ours. We tend to produce very minimalist-sounding records and his take is more like a wall of sound, so it was quite different for us making that kind of record."
While Clarke credits Frankmusik with what he considers to be a different sound for the band, he also admits to being a little techno-crazed these days himself. He's openly addicted to Beatport, an iTunes-like online destination exclusively for electronic offerings.
"I'm downloading stuff all the time," Clarke says. "In fact, last year, I collaborated with Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, and we produced an album of techno music."
That album has yet to earn its release, but, point is, the genre is far from foreign to Clarke. Still, he says he was happy to let someone else take the reins.
"We didn't have a vision or a concept of how the final [Erasure] record would sound," Clarke says. "It was when we went into the studio with Frank that things started taking shape."
Promises Clarke, the new material should pair nicely with Erasure's garish tour set-up, too.
"[The set] looks like a dilapidated futuristic city, with some gargoyles," he says with a laugh. "So it's kind of Gothic-ish. And, in contrast to that, we're wearing really spangly suits."