Day-Glo (Based on a True Story)


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Day-Glo (Based on a True Story) Review

by Marcy Donelson

After Erasure hit the U.K. Top Ten for the first time in 20 years with 2017's World Be Gone, they released multiple companion LPs, including a pared-down orchestrated version (World Beyond) and a live set (World Be Live). Giving similar treatment to 2020's The Neon (which hit the Top Five), they offered up The Neon Remixed, followed by this, Day-Glo (Based on a True Story). The product of Vince Clarke having time on his hands during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it consists of new songs and quasi-instrumentals constructed from sound files from The Neon sessions that he manipulated and repurposed. Andy Bell recorded new vocals for some of the tracks. The largely dance groove-anchored result is more ambitious than a remix album but not dissimilar to a DJ mix, with Clarke essentially piecing together distorted samples of his own work into ten distinct, under-four-minute tracks. The ominous "Based on a True Story" opens the set with something like the imagined soundtrack to a film in which the protagonist stumbles, unseen, upon a chanting tribe in a subterranean enclave. Sounds reminiscent of the Pac-Man dying effect, suspenseful '80s action TV, and industrial synth bass, along with Andy Bell's soaring, mostly wordless vocals are elements on its palette. It's followed by the brighter techno entry "Bop Beat," which plays with chopped vocals and more-melodic keys and bass. Erasure slow things down for the spacy "The Conman," one of the few tracks here with a front-and-center vocal line ("What are we gonna do about it?/You gotta rise up/Stand up and be counted"). The closest thing to a radio-ready song, however, is probably the ornate ballad "3 Strikes and You're Out," though all of Day-Glo, even the mainly instrumental club tracks, is accessible in Clarke's instinctively hooky, suspenseful way.

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