Yet on their 17th effort, Vince Clark and Andy Bell toss out very few easy synth treats, using the majority of its runtime to throw mud at the world in a somewhat sombre mood and the odd activist spark thrown in. The message across the LP is a common one in the present world of lunacy; namely, we're screwed. While that may be true, World Be Gone attempts to blur the lines of pop and politics to deliver a smattering of hope.
Erasure's self-produced 17th studio album, World Be Gone finds the duo honing in on a reflective synth pop befitting the wind-down portion of the dance. Affected by the political upheaval of the period leading up to its release in the spring of 2017, it features a few calls to action amid selections that are more generally about the need for love. The rousing opener, "Love You to the Sky," is a straight-up love song (and classic earworm) that begins with Krupa-like drums, establishing a thumping drumbeat that makes it the closest thing to a club track on the record.
Troubled times give many pause for thought, and while the trademark synths bubble across Erasure's lush orchestration and rich melodies routinely here, this is a more reflective collection than 2014's The Violet Flame. Album opener - and lead single - Love You To The Sky is familiar perky pop fare, but the next track, Be Careful What You Wish For, echoes 1988's Ship Of Fools single and largely sets the tone for the following eight tracks. Now 17 studio albums in, Erasure are unlikely to be preaching to any but the converted - though a support slot on this summer's Robbie Williams tour will certainly broker wider exposure than they have enjoyed of late.
Anger is an energy. John Lydon's war cry has rarely been so true than in 2017, where we find long-established pop acts reacting to world events through albums of unexpected rage. Vince Clarke's former group Depeche Mode unveiled their own bruising encounter, Spirit, and now here he is back with Andy Bell as Erasure doing the very same. The warnings were there when musicOMH spoke with Clarke in November, when he pondered that "this time around it seems that there is so much bad stuff, there's loads to write about".