Rekindling A Little Respect
By David Roy
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, Erasure reigned at the top of the charts - notching up hits with the likes of Sometimes, A Little Respect and the Abba-esque EP. But the past few years haven't been great for the pop duo, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke - as their last three albums failed to reach the giddy heights of success they have been used to in the past.
However, the two are feeling upbeat about the release of their latest album, Other People's Songs. As the title suggests, it's a covers album, with unassuming producer Clarke and the flamboyant frontman Bell applying their unique brand of electro-pop to an eclectic bunch of songs that includes Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill (which recently gave Erasure their first top 10 hit for nearly 10 years) and Buddy Holly's True Love Ways.
"This album is about us coming out of three not very successful albums and reigniting the pop flame," explains 38-year-old singer Bell. After their liaison with other people's songs, the band are happily working on their own material now, having written four songs since they finished the album. Bell feels that they've come through their dry spell and says that both he and Clarke are feeling much more enthusiastic about Erasure.
"I think all bands go through it. The last time I was in America I saw Debbie Harry when we were in Dallas doing a radio show. She said the same thing happened to her and Blondie.
"When you go year after year doing album after album, after a while the fun wears off. It becomes like any other job. It sounds strange for me to say that but that's what happened."
Initially Bell was looking to do the album on his own, take a break from Erasure and pursue his long term dream of making a solo album. He wanted to concentrate on Phil Spector songs but after revisiting his parents record collection, he decided to broaden the scope.
The duo feel far removed from the chart music that they were once so much a part of.
"We're much different now than we were in the 80s," says Bell. "Then we were much more carefree and didn't know what was going on. We went around and did anything they asked us to. Now, because we know a bit about how the industry works, we don't. The industry's changed so much as well - all the people are different, and there aren't that many pop shows on TV anymore. I think we're more family entertainment these days. I mean we did Des O'Connor recently!"
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