|Liner Notes for Sometimes: A Tribute to Erasure cd released by Cleopatra May 1999 |
by Rod Reynolds
Erasure. If any band ever deserved a tribute album, here is one. Although, most of their songs are so well constructed and performed, who would dare to cover them... Brave souls only need apply.
For brave souls indeed are the two men collectively known as Erasure. A founding member of electro pop superstar group Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke left the band after its first album. A few one-off collaborations followed, eventually culminating in the successful duo Yazoo (or Yaz in America) with Alison Moyet. Two remarkable (and UK chart topping) albums later, that band, too was history, and Vince once again set out anew. Vocalist Andy Bell answered the ad this time, and the unassuming act Erasure was formed in London, 1987.
Quietly releasing synth pop single after single, its audience grew slowly but surely. 'Sometimes', Erasure's fourth UK single, hit Number 2 in 1986. America eventually caught up with the irrepressible 'Victim of Love' (1987) and 'Chains of Love' (1988), and the list of singles (and albums) grew quickly and consistently, culminating with 'A Little Respect' in late 1988.
As a side project, Vince and Andy decided to make a tribute to one of their many influences, and recorded four Abba covers in 1992. Unexpectedly catching the growing wave of Abba revival, 'Take a Chance on Me' proved to be their biggest hit to date. The subsequent 'Abba-esque' tour went on and on an on, playing ten nights in Los Angeles alone, and an unprecedented twelve shows in New York City.
'Pop - the First 20 Hits' was released to coincide with the tour; their seventh album (plus two eps, 'Crackers International' and 'Abba-esque'), surprising many casual fans with the sheer volume of singles released to date - twenty synth pop classics in less than four years being no small achievement. Three further albums followed that landmark compilation, to varied degrees of chart success, but Erasure had already cemented its fan base around the world.
Here for the first time are ten cover versions (plus one bonus track) selected from ten years worth of Erasure material. Some tracks remain relatively faithful to the originals, other take the deconstructive approach, and extend the boundaries of what we have heard before, yet each honors the band in a stylistically unique interpretation.
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