The fires might have dimmed in the ERASURE camp over the last couple of years, but the band's new album Cowboy has set interest alight once more. Now Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are saddling up and hitting the trail for some live gigs. Words: Rory Weller
14 THE LIST 4—17Apr 1997
EVER SINCE THE dismal critical response to their I Say I Say I Say album. Andy Bell and Vince Clark have been trying to determine what they really want to do musically. With their latest long-player. Cowboy. they’ve discovered who they are — and. curiously enough. they’re a band called Erasure. creators of some of the best sing-a-long pop ever to have been made.
‘This album doesn‘t really differ that much from the previous Erasure albums — not including the last one.‘ says singer Andy Bell. ‘lt‘s more akin to the Wonderland album [their first] and The II1I1()(‘(’III.S'. mainly because it‘s chock-a-block full of singles.’
Bell joined Erasure back in 1985 when Vince Clarke — founder member of Yazoo. Depeche Mode and The Assembly — was auditioning for a singer-songwriter to collaborate with him on a new project. After seeing 40 or so hopefuls. Clarke settled on 21- year-old former meat factory worker Bell. who fitted the spaneg brief perfectly.
Their first single together that year. ‘Who Needs Love Like That‘ was not the immediate commercial success that they had fully expected it to be. They carried on their camp campaign with ‘l-leavenly Action‘ and ‘Oh L‘Amour‘. but still weren't able to crack the Top 50.
Flamboyant stage shows round the country won them public acclaim and interest from the critics. so when ‘Sometimes’ was released in October 1986. it was no real surprise to see it peaking at Number Two in the charts. Ten years later. Erasure have made ten albums. 27 singles and sold a total of 20 million records worldwide. The band‘s live gigs put any Broadway musical to shame. going stadium with polyprene pop. surreal costumes and stage sets. plus a giant inﬂatable snail called Ernie.
In 1992 they entertained the world with the ‘Phantasmogorical Entertainment Tour'. coinciding with the release of Number One album Chorus. an Erasure re-working of four Abba songs and the re-release of their very first single. At the end of the year they put out Pop — The First 20 Hits. making the buying public realise how many late 8OS—early 90s moments had been accompanied by an Erasure soundtrack. This, however. became their problem: their blip-spot pop marked the age. and Erasure had become rather dated wallpaper.