Whilst approaching the final three rescheduled Dublin shows of the sold out European leg of their ‘World be Gone Tour’ and prior to embarking on the South and North American legs which will see them travel to places as far afield as Mexico, Peru and Chile, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, the formidable duo that make up Erasure have seen fit to throw into the mix a lovely little reinterpretation of 2017’s thought provoking ‘World be Gone’ with the assistance of Brussels based post classical outfit ‘Echo Collective’, a seven piece collaboration of classically trained musicians who along with Andy Bell managed to record this amazing rework over a period of only ten days.
The idea for this reinterpretation was formed by the electronic wizard Vince Clarke who initially made the suggestion that a single from the album could be reconstructed in an orchestral style but the idea had obviously snowballed and we have thankfully been gifted with a full album. This isn’t the first time that Erasure has added a classical slant to their work but it has taken 31 years for it to materialise since 1987’s The Two Ring Circus which featured three tracks taken from The Circus and Wonderland albums. Incidentally, The Two Ring Circus on coloured vinyl is set for a Record Store day release this year which will delight the Erasure diehards. Longtime associate Gareth Jones of previous Erasure and Depeche Mode fame was drafted in to mix World Beyond while the production mantle was undertaken by Echo Collective. Andy Bells stunning Vocals have also been fully re-recorded for ‘World Beyond’ with no padded out backing to keep this album as defined as its classical instrumentation.
The first thing noticeable on the album is that the track listing does not follow the same sequence as its parent album, with Oh What A World being the introductory track instead of the happy go lucky Love You To The Sky which gives a quite sinister start but with fantastic vocals and a seamless replication of the originals electronics. Be Careful What You Wish For the stand out track on ‘World Be Gone’ evokes an even more melancholic feel than the original, stripped back, delicately layered but not devoid of the atmosphere that sets the bar so high for its synthesized twin. World Be Gone features a mellow intro not in keeping with the single version, tinkling Harp, sweet Violin and a stunning Harp interlude then A Bitter Parting emerges with its re-recorded vocal replacement, free of the lisp sounding that was discussed back on April 17 when it first aired. The drawback is that the Violin is quite folk sounding although a magical Harp melody runs throughout. A Bitter Parting in this instance doesn’t work just as well as its electronic counterpart. Still, Its Not Over stays in its album spot on the halfway mark and the LGBT rights favourite doesn’t disappoint.
An impromptu vocal gives a heartfelt warmth to the intro, the subtle feel of the track is maintained throughout and features an ear warming violin middle eight and somewhat sombre conclusion. Further emotive vocals appear throughout Take Me Out Of Myself and a skilful interchange between piano and glockenspiel introduces Sweet Summer Loving. The main feature of this reinterpretation is the distinctly synthetic sounding violin which showcases this as a fantastic rendition of the original. One of the weaker tracks on World Be Gone is the opening single Love You To The Sky and this version is definitely one step ahead but still doesn’t break any delft even with the additional vocals threaded in towards the end of the track. ‘ Lousy Sum Of Nothing‘ is simplistic, stripped back and illustrates the lower scale of Mr Bells exquisite vocal range. The finale as with World Be Gone gives us Just a Little Love which highlights a rather screechy violin covering the ‘Think about it baby’ backing vocal which deters from how good this song is although it is not as harsh as described it still distracts somewhat.
World Beyond is a stripped down, built up affair where synthetic meets organic and intricacies are replaced with special effects. The arrangements and instrumentation have obviously been intelligently selected to replicate the soundscape of the indigenous recording and Echo Collective have done this brilliantly. Erasure fans will be split over World Beyond as its not the expectation for an electronic, dance floor commanding pop duo and to some may seem boring and dull, but consideration should be given to the fact that Erasures music can take on multi guises and not just synthetic bleeps and blips but fully layered pieces that can transcend from a collection of weird and wonderful sounds to an arrangement of orchestral magnificence that to the musical purist may just stand the test of time