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Erasure “Snow Globe” – Album Review

Mute (2013)

Considering their “camp as Christmas” reputation, it’s surprising that it’s taken synth-pop stalwarts Erasure nearly thirty years to embrace the festive season. However, their fifteenth studio effort, Snow Globe, is far from the party starting-affair you might expect.

A mixture of original compositions, traditional carols and mid-20th Century standards, the follow-up to 2011’s Tomorrow’s World starts brightly enough with the kind of floaty electro-pop the duo are renowned for on “Bells Of Love (Isabelle’s Of Love).”

But having stated that they intend to reflect the darker side of the holidays, Erasure then steer the record into more sombre territory. “Gaudete” is a brilliantly eerie take on the traditional hymn made famous by Steeleye Span; the self-penned “Make It Wonderful” recalls the ominous synth-pop of Vince Clarke’s former outfit Depeche Mode; and “Sleep Quietly” blends Andy Bell’s haunting choirboy routine with a creepy music box-style production.

Snow Globe then ramps up the strangeness with a bizarre chiptune rendition of Nat King Cole classic “The Christmas Song” which has to be heard to be believed, a wonky synth-led interpretation of “White Christmas,” and “Blood On The Snow,” a macabre waltz inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s tragic fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The choice of “In The Bleak Midwinter,” transformed here into a solemn funereal march, therefore couldn’t be more appropriate.

But thankfully the pair do make a few more concessions to those who aren’t entirely immune to the magic of Christmas. “There’ll Be No Tomorrow” is a glorious slice of throbbing disco-pop which suggests that they could have challenged nearest rivals Pet Shop Boys’ recent return-to-form had they decided to commit to a more conventional comeback. A gorgeously twinkling cover of “Silver Bells” wisely ends the album on a more optimistic note.

Erasure’s unique approach to the festivities will ultimately be a little too maudlin for some, but few contemporary Christmas albums have been as intriguing.

3 / 5 stars     

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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