"The Innocents" is the third studio album from Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, and it's still their strongest and most consistent album. Strip these songs of their synth-heavy production, and you will still find strong melodies, undeniable hooks, and memorable choruses. While their peers may be Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, Erasure's songrwriting style is a vague throwback to the 1960s, when people like Burt Bacharach composed lighthearted, but not lightheaded, clever pop tunes. "Chains of Love," "Phantom Bride," and "Heart of Stone" age and hold up well after all these years. Playing "The Innocents" is like wearing your favorite sweater: it's warm and comfortable, and it does the job nicely. Clarke and Bell continued to make good records, but none could top this excellent release from the 1980s.