ANDY BELL AND VINCE CLARKE ARE ABOUT TO CELEBRATE THREE DECADES OF ELECTRO-POP PERFECTION – THIS MONTH IS THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ERASURE’S DEBUT SINGLE. IN OCTOBER MUTE RECORDS WILL RELEASE A NEW THREE DISC COMPILATION – ALWAYS (FEATURING TWENTY OF THEIR BIGGEST HITS ALONGSIDE A SELECTION OF NEW AND ARCHIVE REMIXES) – AND REISSUE THE DUO’S 1986 BREAKTHROUGH SOMETIMES.
Bell and Clarke’s association began when the singer answered an advert in the music papers, placed by Clarke who was looking for a new singer following the collapse of The Assembly (his one-off project with former The Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey). Clarke was no stranger to having hit singles; he’d scored several with both Depeche Mode and Yazoo (which featured Alison Moyet). Bell had been a big fan, even using Clarke’s previous records to rehearse along to, so he instinctively understood the writer’s perfect pop. It would eventually become a winning, multi-million selling, formula. Debut album WONDERLAND (1985) made little initial impact, but 1987 follow-up THE CIRCUS was elevated by the huge success of SOMETIMES and was the gateway to a golden era for Erasure. Third album THE INNOCENTS (1988) became the first in a string of number one albums in the UK, with WILD! (1989), CHORUS (1991) and I SAY I SAY I SAY (1994) also joined by singles compilation POP – THE FIRST TWENTY HITS in 1992. Erasure scored 34 Top Thirty singles, most notably the classic A LITTLE RESPECT and the chart-topping ABBAESQUE. Other hits included BLUE SAVANNAH, VICTIM OF LOVE, STOP, LOVE TO HATE YOU, DRAMA, OH L’AMOUR and RUN TO THE SUN. More recent albums LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2007), TOMORROW’S WORLD (2011) and THE VIOLET FLAME (2014) have seen Clarke and Bell continue their mastery of crafting soulful pop songs for the dance floor, and rendering them through state-of-the-art electronics fronted by soulful vocals.
In summer 2014 Bell released the album TORSTEN THE BAREBACK SAINT, a song-cycle described as “a set of musical postcards from the hotspots of memory of a semi-immortal polysexual”… It was written by poet and playwright Barney Ashton, and performed in a show starring Bell during a two week run at the Edinburgh Festival. A remix album – VARIANCE – has just been issued, but the full follow-up – THE BEAUTIFUL LIBERTINE – will be released (and performed) early next year. To win a CD copy of the deluxe ‘book edition’ of TORSTEN THE BAREBACK SAINT (featuring full libretto and production photographs) see the graphic below.
In this new edition of The Mouthcast, Andy Bell talks about Torsten’s life and discusses the themes of sexuality. He also looks back at thirty years of being flamboyant frontman of Erasure…
Pre-order the eight song SOMETIMES 2015 single here
Pre-order the three-disc deluxe edition of ALWAYS – THE VERY BEST OF ERASURE on CD here
Order TORSTEN THE BAREBACK SAINT on CD here and the remix album VARIANCE on CD here
Follow Erasure on Twitter here, and Andy Bell here
Support the ongoing NOH8 campaign here
Andy Bell NOH8 portrait by Adam Bouska