Flashback Friday: Erasure

Erasure_1986.jpg
Paul Cox
A flick from 1986.
Where we're going, we don't need roads; just a synthesizer, eyeliner, and a touch of androgyny. Welcome to Flashback Friday.

See also: An '80s Conversation with Super Stereo

I hadn't thought about British synthpop duo Erasure for a long time -- until Super Stereo brought them up during last week's chat; I had all but forgot about them, to be honest, but the group's classic 1988 release, The Innocents, is playing a big role in the local future-poppers' upcoming album.

After more than 25 years, 14 studio albums, umpteen hit singles, and millions of albums sold, electronica champion Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell are still going strong with the release of 2011's Tomorrow's World.

Before hooking up with Bell, Clarke made his name penning most of the debut album for one, Depeche Mode, leaving the seminal synth group in 1981 to form the short-lived duo, Yazoo, or Yaz as they were known stateside. Along with singer Alison Moyet, the two created the ultra-successful, commercially-loved, disco/synth crossover, "Don't Go."

After only two years the pair went their separate ways, paving the way for Erasure's formation in 1985. Their 1986 debut release, Wonderland, was received with mixed reviews, but their sophomore effort, Sometimes, launched a series of singles that club-goers would continue eating up well into the '90s. Unlike Depeche Mode, which gradually shifted to darker, more somber undertones with their synth-driven music, Erasure embodied the early dance-pop energy of D-Mode songs like, "I Just Can't Get Enough."

The Innocents marked the duo's first American success, with tracks like "Chains of Love," "A Little Respect," and "Ship of Fools," leading the way. Dancefloors everywhere were filled with Clarke's bouncy beats, and Bell's high-pitched falsetto.

During the '90s, while house and techno made its move into clubs, Erasure maintained its dance-pop disposition, releasing an homage EP to staple pop outfit ABBA, along with four other full-length albums that decade.

In 2005, Bell revealed that he had been living HIV-positive since 1998. He hasn't let the disease slow him down as the two continue touring and creating music. The duo tapped British wunderkind Vincent Frank to produce last year's record, capping off the year with a world tour.

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