if you look back in history, you know in the times before Little Boots and La Roux were alive you’ll find there were many others who wielded pop’s bright and twinkly torch. One of the key movers and shakers of this time was none other than Vince Clarke who had a knack of starting bands, watching them get big then buggering off to start new bands. After departing first Depeche Mode then Yazoo his third and arguably most successful project Erasure brought him and vocalist Andy Bell together for what seemed like an endless run of hits which saw them dominate the pop charts in the latter part of the eighties and early nineties. October 21st sees the 21st anniversary re release of their third album ‘The Innocents’, originally holding the number one position in 1988 the album yielded three hit singles (A Little Respect, Ship Of Fools, Chains Of Love).
Looking at the album twenty one years later it would seem there has never been a more appropriate time for it to be given a new airing. In the years since its original release the album’s trademark sound has drifted in and out of fashion, yet right now it wields such a similarity to some of pop’s most recent endeavors you could quite easily be mistaken for thinking this collection is a lot newer than it actually is.
There’s an obvious strength to Clarke and Bell’s songwriting partnership, Clark has a definite knack of writing three minute pop songs laden with hooks and melody while Andy Bell could always deliver strong torch song elements with his vocals. Between the two of them they stamp their credentials all over the singles and it’s easy to remember why they were hits in the first place. In fact if you dig a little deeper you discover the album could have yielded a few more hits (Hallowed Ground, Imagination) had the band/label been so inclined.
Of course its not perfect, there are indeed wobbly moments which they might have got away with back in the day but now seem a touch…well frankly embarrassing (Witch In The Ditch, Sixty Five Thousand), however as a whole this album does stand up pretty well by todays standards, not just as a collection of pop songs but an interesting snapshot which shows you where the synth revivalists pinched all their ideas from.