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Union Street Enhanced
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|1. Boy (from the album Cowboy)|
|2. Piano Song (from the album Wild!)|
|3. Stay With Me (from the album Erasure)|
|4. Spiralling (from the album Circus)|
|5. Home (from the album Chorus)|
|6. Tenderest Moments (Run to the Sun b-side)|
|7. Alien (from the album Loveboat)|
|8. Blues Away (from the album I Say I Say I Say)|
|9. How Many Times (from the album Wild!)|
|10. Love Affair (from the album Cowboy)|
|11. Rock Me Gently (from the album Erasure)|
ERASURE - ACOUSTIC! Union Street sees Erasure - the duo of Andy Bell & Vince Clarke - reworking classic tracks from throughout their incredible 20 year career, which has spawned numerous Top 40 hits. Includes Boy, Home, Alien and more.
Erasure with dobro, mandolin, and steel guitar? Believe it. Union Street is the sound of the British synth-pop duo--Andy Bell and Vince Clarke--unplugged. The title comes from the Brooklyn studio in which they re-recorded 11 lesser-known tracks from throughout their career. Ten come from seven albums, while "Tenderest Moments" was a B-side. Designed more for slow dancing than disco dancing, this acoustic set puts the focus on the lyrics and Bell's ardent, yearning voice. Highlights include "Stay With Me," which is graced by a lovely flute solo, and the gospel-tinged "Rock Me Gently," with Jill Walsh providing heavenly counterpoint (both from 1995's Erasure). "Blues Away" (1994's I Say I Say I Say), however, would've worked better without the falsetto, while "How Many Times" (1989's Wild!), ironically, would've worked better in a higher register (Bell is at his best in his natural range). Overall, though, Erasure make this unexpected departure work. If the songs weren't strong enough to begin with, it wouldn't have been worth the effort, but they withstand the changes Bell and Clarke have have put them through quite nicely. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Almost all of the songs took the 'treatment" well, the total standout for me was "Tenderest Moments"; simply beautiful,perfect, and touching.
Overall this was beautifully executed, I feel sorry for the naysayers who just can't get it.
Like most Erasure fans I do not listen to acoustic music very often, so I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard. Vince and Andy have indeed proven that great songs work with any type of instrumentation. And unlike what a previous reviewer said, they did not make obvious choices for the album. Obvious choices would have been hit singles, not obscure album tracks and a b-side.
The backings are sometimes a bit sparse, as on "Spiralling", but I think this only showcases Andy's heavenly choirboy voice. Afterall, with Vince playing guitar on only track (he does co-produce as well), this is more of an Andy album. His voice is as smooth as ever, never delving into wild histrionics like so many younger singers do. Although he sings in a lower register on "Tenderest Moments", he proves he still has that remarkable falsetto on "Blues Away".
The highlight on the album is "Stay With Me". The backing woodwinds give you that spine-tingling feeling that only Erasure songs seem to do. It is simply the most beautiful song written this side of "God Only Knows". "Rock Me Gently", also originally from their self-titled masterpiece, is another standout with its new backing vocal arrangements. It makes a wonderful closer even if it does lack the country-esque vibe of the rest of the album. The only skippable track on the album is "Love Affair", which was never one of their better songs to begin with.
So Erasure fans, look at this album for what it is - a showcase for two of the greatest and most underrated songwriters the world has ever known. While we may all still prefer their electronic counterparts, these new reinterpretations offer a nice fresh look at some old favorites.