Andy Bell’s voice has never sounded as good as it does on the brilliant new Erasure disc, Union Street, released next week. The album is named after the street in Brooklyn where the duo recorded the tracks. For years the HIV+ and openly gay front man has teased us with the possibility of a stripped down, acoustic album. This is Mr. Bell doing his best Tammy Wynette. Obviously, he pulls it off. The band is also about to undertake their first tour with a live backing band, starting the US trek in Nashville, naturally.
Their rendition of the same-sex heartbreaker “Boy” opens the set and you can hear a definite maturity in Bell’s voice now. There is a richness, a depth, that was at times missing from the theatrical falsetto of Erasure albums past. Here his voice sounds stronger in the lower register and weaker in the higher, a complete reverse to the original versions of these songs. “Stay With Me” and “Rock Me Gently,” pulled from their underrated eponymous album are finally getting a deserved second chance. The album’s standout is the beautiful ballad “Home.” On their Chorus album the song was lost at the end of an overly stylized and produced dance pop record. Here it shimmers and builds like an epic tale.
The band’s take on their own catalog allows listeners to rediscover gems that never got radio play. It’s about time Vince Clarke and Andy Bell got a little respect as serious musicians and songwriters. Union Street is a brilliant record and deserves recognition.
Erasure Information Service [Official Site]