With synth pop making an unexpected comeback, the timing couldn't be better for a new Erasure album. Vince Clarke's infectious recordings with Depeche Mode, Yaz, the Assembly and, of course, Erasure helped create the blueprint for electronic dance pop, while Andy Bell's soulful vocals and flamboyant persona added a critical human element. Unfortunately, on Nightbird, Erasure's first album of original material in five years, the pair exchange the exuberant pop charm of their earlier career for bland adult-contemporary electronica, with nary a hook or hummable melody in sight. Nightbird could almost be saved from the bargain bin by the tricked-out, dance-ready "All This Time Still Falling Out of Love" if not for its regrettable resemblance to the Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand duet "Enough Is Enough."


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