“World Be Gone”
THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE Facing the future by applying new skills to past electro-pop successes.
Erasure’s bond, like any 32-year-old relationship, is built on give and take.
Sometimes, the focus is on the elaborate, club-filling electronic dance music that Vince Clarke has long crafted with his banks of synthesizers. Sometimes, the focus is on Andy Bell’s gorgeous voice and his stunning ability to convey a deep emotional story.
For the duo’s 17th studio album “World Be Gone” (Mute), Bell’s voice is the undisputed focus to masterful effect. On “Be Careful What You Wish For,” they stack his vocals to create an army of Bells to carry forward the ballad’s simple, pretty melody. On “Still It’s Not Over,” about the battle to get attention and help in the early days of the AIDS crisis, the echoing on Bell’s poignant delivery makes it feel all the more lonely. “Ignorance it isn’t bliss,” Bell declares. “And words they can hurt me.”
However, like much of “World Be Gone,” after the buoyant single “Love You to the Sky,” Bell’s warm vocals put an optimistic spin on the troubling issue. The result, like most great relationships, is bigger than the sum of its parts.