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21 years later: Erasure's The Innocents

innocents

The duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making techno-pop for decades now. Formed in the mid-80s after Clarke’s successful turns in both Depeche Mode and Yaz, Erasure never quite got the respect they deserved. Which is odd for a band that has scored multi-platinum albums on both sides of the Atlantic.

One of the reasons they never became media darlings (like Pet Shop Boys) or rock gods (Depeche Mode) may lay in Bell’s overt sexuality. He has a penchant for soaring falsettos, buttless chaps, and sequins. Oh so many sequins. Now twenty-one years later they’re remastered their breakthrough album, 1988′s The Innocents. Soulful and moody the album captures perfectly what the New York Times a few weeks back said of Mr. Bell being “inadvertently, one of the great British soul singers.”

It’s a grown up perfect pop record. In 1988 when I sat listening in my bedroom I may not have realized that. I just knew this guy was different and I too wanted to be different. The Innocents is a lovely reminder of a simpler time in pop. And hopefully some the younger gays (and straights) will rediscover this gem.