Erasure

Wild!

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Following the commercial and critical success of The Innocents, Erasure sidestepped slightly on Wild!, with slightly mixed results. On the one hand, the by-now-established Erasure song formula resulted in a number of tunes sounding like revamps of earlier numbers, diminishing the overall impact. "How Many Times?" is a ballad by numbers, while, some amusing bitchiness from Bell aside, "2000 Miles" is nice but a timekiller. One or two other cuts fall into this category, making Wild! something of a choppy affair at best. On the other hand, Erasure tries stretching its most since the orchestrated rerecordings on The Two-Ring Circus, often with great success. "Drama!" has a slightly hysterical tone to it, but its strong dancefloor surge and weirdly droning backing Bell harmonies help make it another winner. The gangshout /vocals (background) are also a kick as well -- especially as they were provided in part, via an uncredited appearance, by the Jesus and Mary Chain! "You Surround Me" is another flat-out winner -- it's another slow ballad, but with big, echoing backing that adds a sense of extra theatricality. Other strong numbers include the relatively low key pulse of "Blue Savannah," which sounds like a light motorik/Kraftwerk number given the appropriate Erasure sparkle, and the charging "Brother and Sister," with a sharp synth hook and chorus. Beginning and ending with versions of "Piano Song," the latter letting Bell get in some of his best singing, Wild! is a mixed but still worthy affair.

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