Erasure's self-produced 17th studio album, World Be Gone finds the duo honing in on a reflective synth pop befitting the wind-down portion of the dance. Affected by the political upheaval of the period leading up to its release in the spring of 2017, it features a few calls to action amid selections that are more generally about the need for love. The rousing opener, "Love You to the Sky," is a straight-up love song (and classic earworm) that begins with Krupa-like drums, establishing a thumping drumbeat that makes it the closest thing to a club track on the record. More sociopolitical in nature are "Lousy Sum of Nothing," a plea for political engagement and caring, and "Oh What a World." The latter is a darker, gothy entry that opens with the lyrics "I want to be in the witness protection program/I don't like what we've become," later adding "A million voices go unheard/What became of wanting to be free?" It builds to a gospel-tinged chorus for singer Andy Bell, who provides his own choral-style harmonies. "Still It's Not Over" is another song that begs for social change, with "a time for quiet contemplation dying on the steps of city hall." A keyboard ballad with minimal drums, it puts all the focus on Bell's words and the melodic payoff of the chorus. Elsewhere, the lyrics "Please talk to me as if I'm equal" carry a double meaning that works in the context of a relationship or greater society. While the album's tone is certainly restrained, it's hopeful, too; "Sweet Summer Loving" exudes gratitude, and the final track, "Just a Little Love," parts on a bright note and four on the floor. While there's no real dance anthem in the bunch, World Be Gone does deliver on vocals and memorable Vince Clarke melodies, as well as on arrangements that add some oomph to slower tempos. At the time of its release, it seems on point.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson