ERASURE BOX SETS 1&2 (MUTE) 3.5 out of 5
LIKE all box-sets, this one is bloody awkward to play - collecting, as it does, Erasure's first 10 singles ('85-'88) in separate CD sleeves - and in no way should it be viewed as a satisfactory alternative to "Pop!", Erasure's greatest hits album. And, like all box sets, it works best received as a gift - you'd never want something so uselessly luxurious denting your own bank balance. If this tumbled out of your Xmas stocking, you'll know that the artwork bears an uncanny resemblance to Paperchase stationery, that working out which way the two boxes open makes a great Rubik's-style puzzle, and that just holding it induces the some shiver of excitement eight-year-olds feel with a new Dreamcast.
And the music?. It straps itself into a neon-pink leotard for the sex-on-the-dancefloor discorama of "A Little Respect" and stays in with a Leonardo DiCaprio video for the boy-dumps-boy heartache of "Oh L'Amour". On "Who Needs Love Like That", Andy Bell doesn't so much sing as invite us all to spend an afternoon in paradise with him. Let's accept.