Erasure - Tomorrow's World
It's ironic that Erasure chose to give their new album such a deliberately 80s title, considering that the record that accompanies it is their most forward looking in years. Frankmusic's glossy production certainly makes it sound "now" and it's not an unreasonable thing to attempt; having barely troubled the charts since the mid nineties they can pretty much do what they like without looking anxiously at the sales figures. The problem is that in doing so, they've tried to make an album that doesn't sound like Erasure - and largely succeeded - but the result is bland and forgettable. There are glimpses of the old magic, notably on 'I Lose Myself', where flashes of Clarke's synth break through and standout ballad 'What Will I Say When You're Gone'.
At just nine tracks and a little over half an hour, it certainly doesn't outstay its welcome, but it's hard to see who it's aimed at. Did anyone really think Andy Bell's voice (still sounding fine after all these years) needed heavily treating with vocoder? Too glossy and different for existing fans, and of little interest to the mainstream, it's the sound of a band who have lost their way. There's still hope for one last great Erasure album, but this isn't it.