Other People's Songs (Mute)

James Taylor's stab at "Everyday" was underwhelmingly twee; Andy Bell makes the Buddy Holly tune full-blown gay, which is precisely the point, since few singers are so loud or proud about their sexuality as the Erasure singer (emoter, really). Seventeen years after Wonderland, Erasure still sounds like a band stuck in the synthesized, synthetic, synful 1980s; there's still no meat on those flimsy Casio bones, no beat to help you break a sweat. The music's catchy, but not permanent; not one of these covers of tunes made famous by the likes of Elvis, the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, and Peter Gabriel lasts longer than it takes to play it, if that.

Consequently, Erasure's first U.S. release in five years won't convert the cynical or betray the faithful. Bell tears up as if every song's his last; Clarke fondles the keys as if every song's his first; the result sounds like the most earnest brand of discotheque camp this side of a Kylie Minogue video. Still, now that New Order is hot again, everything old is new wave once more. Can't wait for the revival tour with Book of Love, Bronski Beat, Soft Cell, and Jimmy Somerville.


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