This week, Mute has released a re-mastered version of Erasure’s 1988 album ‘The Innocents’. The first of, hopefully, a series of re-masters – certainly their first two albums, and everything up to and most definitely including ‘Loveboat’ could do a digital spit and polish. The re-release includes, as bonus bollocks, a DVD of the concert the band did for the BBC in 1988 (which was not part of ‘The Innocents’ tour, but who’s splitting hairs?) and a CD of remixes, including the ‘much sought after’ 7” mix of ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ (much sought after by those fans who don’t already have it as part of the singles box set).
Oh, I’m being churlish. But whilst I am, it would’ve been nice to have had the radio session of ‘Phantom Bride’ included. There’s also some nice rehearsal footage from the BBC show which I dug up for one of the conventions, back in the day.
Beside the point. The point is that ‘The Innocents’ is a magnificent album, featuring ten terrific Clarke/Bell originals, some of the strongest stuff they’ve ever done, including their best song, ‘A Little Respect’, plus an instrumental Vince wrote after hearing M/A/R/R/S Pumping Up The Volume in the studio next door, and two bonus tracks which DON’T COUNT AS PART OF THE ALBUM.
Whilst I love it dearly, my criticism of it – as follower of the true faith of V & A – is that it’s Erasure's most generic-sounding album. Because it’s produced by Stephen Hague, it sounds similar to the stuff he was doing with The Communards and the Pet Shop Boys at the same time. For me, Erasure are at the best when all the lead and backing vocals are by Andy, and all the other noises are by Vince (using vintage analogue synthesizers only).