May 11, 2006

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Erasure, Union Street
Mute Records, 2006

Just when you thought it was safe to check in with dance-bubble merchants who peaked during Iran/Contra, along comes Erasure with an entry in the “Currently Playing” Starbucks-display sweepstakes. The blessings of Union Street are mixed — one could feel relieved that they didn’t show up in serious-comeback mode bearing an embarrassing gaggle of songs to accomplish little more than betraying the band’s varicosity, but store shelves are already straining under the weight of unplugged no-brainer Sominex and this was entirely unnecessary. Vince and Andy have hereby proven they can tone down some toned-down B-sides and other detritus for the small screen if not much else; virtually any hackasaurus could turn whinnying George Michael yuckiness like “Boy” into Seal filler (they were even prescient enough to throw the word “coffee” in there back in the days!) or tweak their own nose by gelding “Piano Song” with overacted Elvis Costello vocals and a lone acoustic guitar, though most wouldn’t. An unretouched most-obscure-of would have sufficed in place of this business. C+

— E.W.S.


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