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62
4.6 out of 5 stars
Snow Globe
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
With 'Snow Globe' Erasure deliver a seasonally-themed album of carols and classic Christmas songs, plus a handful of new compositions. Over the thirteen tracks, Vince Clarke's music is stripped right back, presenting an enticing pallet of warm, electronic minimalism. With this sparse backing, Andy Bell's wistful and soaring vocals are given plenty of space to shine, really cementing the heart and soul of the album.

Though there are a couple classic Erasure-style pop stormers ('Loving Man' and 'There'll Be No Tomorrow')- which could easily add sparkle to any Christmas party- many of the tracks featured here have a darker and almost eerie tone ('Sleep Quietly' and 'Bleak Midwinter'). However, you'll be pleased to know that nothing gets so sombre that you're left crying into your eggnog. Among the tracks there are also moments of quirky and refreshing experimentation: 'The Christmas Song' is rendered as an 8-bit chip tune and 'White Christmas' features vocals recorded live in a subway (complete with background ambience). A special mention should also to go to 'Gaudete', which turns a sixteenth century, Latin-sung carol into a no-nonsense electro stomp, complete with spectacular vocal harmonies and ominous, bell chimes.

If you want a Christmas album that has a traditional flavour, but with a slightly alternative twist, then 'Snow Globe' is definitely worth a purchase. Even if you're the sort of listener who avoids this sort thing, there's still plenty to enjoy beyond the Christmas motifs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
Dark, minimal and melodic ... just what i'm waiting for Vince Clarke and Andy Bell.
Snowglobe returns to primary essence of Erasure musical art. Really, amazing !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
Interesting range of opinions here - I agree that there hasn't been enough promotion of Erasure releases in recent years, but to be fair musical taste is so polarised these days that bands such as Vince and Andy's are only going to be of interest to those of us who first encountered them in their 'chart-straddling' pomp of the mid to late 1980s, when synth-pop was the up and coming thing and when the pop charts were relevant to a greater section of society than pubescent girls.

Anyway, Snow Globe is a welcome release - Andy Bell's brand of angelic soaring vocals is perfect for seasonal music, whilst Vince Clarke's noodlings have always been sheer quality. The new songs are all pretty strong, whilst the covers of Gaudete and White Christmas in particular are sublime. Clarke retains his ability to underscore ostensibly cheerful tunes with a brooding darkness, and Gaudete is practically sinister with its hypnotic rythmn and chiming bells. Yes there are a couple of forgettable tracks, but overall this is a return to form for the guys after a fallow few years, and a reminder of why they were so loved in the first place.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
Some presents are hugely welcome whilst others can leave a bad taste in your mouth. I remember as a child getting hold of my Christmas sack and rummaging through it getting all my presents out and being aghast at the brilliance of what Santa had brought me.

This album reminds me of those days - the anticipation of the wait coupled with the quality of the tracks. The problem with this album is that it also reminds me of the fruit and nuts that were at the bottom of my Christmas sack; dry nuts that were difficult to crack and satsumas that were tasteless and slightly 'off'.

The album really is an EP. Five newly penned tracks of which three are excellent and two are utter pap. Bells Of Love, Make It Wonderful and Loving Man are high quality Erasure and any of these three could be singles. The other two - Blood On The Snow and There'll Be No Tomorrow do absolutely nothing for me and would have been track three of a 12" record in the heady days of hit-after-hit in the 1980's and 1990's. Hell - Blood On The Snow wouldn't have even made the grade as track three.

The rest of the album is made up of Christmas classics done in the Erasure-Style. Some of these are astoundingly beautiful or quirky whilst others shouldn't be on an album... Gaudete is a brilliant piece of 16th Century Latin pop, Silent Night is an incredibly sparse and stunning piece of Vince Clarke re-imagining whilst Bleak Midwinter is synth-rejigged to almost spotless effect with all three tracks creating the right notes for Andy Bell's sweet and occasionally soaring vocals. Midnight Clear is fantastic if a little short whilst White Christmas took me a good few listens until I understood what they were trying to do with it - they've darkened it considerably. I'm lost as to why The Christmas Song has found its way onto this CD as it spoils the atmosphere though...

For me, this should have been a half-and-half - three or four new tracks, a re-working of She Won't Be Home and a re-vamped Home (from Chorus) on 'side 1' and five or six classics re-imagined in the Erasure style on 'side 2' rather than the eight we have here. I've re-ordered the tracks myself, added She Won't Be Home, Am I Right? and Home to the mix and removed the pap! You're welcome to do the same if you wish!

As an aside - the re-working of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on the boxset is awesome and worth the massive amount of extra cash just for this version (plus the instrumental versions of Silent Night and White Christmas). Some of the synth work throughout is reminiscent of Vangelis at his very best.
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on 26 December 2013
This album is a tribute to Andy Bell's partner of 25 years (Paul Hickey). He died last year, but always wanted Erasure to make a Christmas album. I am glad they finally did. This is an excellent album that I have listened to many times this festive season and I expect I will sneak the odd listen at other times of year! This is not only my favourite Christmas album but is a real return to form for Erasure. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell are both at the top of their game. Who needs a choir?! Gaudete is the song that made me buy this. It is so upbeat and beautifully sung. I also love the lyrics to this old Latin carol which are wonderfully articulated here. All of Erasures original compositions included here are thankfully far better than those on their previous album. Even the now seemingly obligatory atheist chorus (in this case on opener "Bells of Love") in no way spoils this album: "I don't believe in your religion / I only know what I can see". This is because it is drowned in the religious sentiments of the chosen carols, and especially Ruth Heller's composition "Sleep Quietly"(which Katherine Jenkins fans will recognise). I equally love Erasure's version of "In the Bleak Midwinter". Admittedly there are a few tracks I often skip due to general over-familiarity ("The Christmas Song", the strange version of "White Christmas" and sometimes "Silent Night"). However the other tracks are so good I didn't deduct a star for this. The dropped star is in protest to Erasure not including a version of their now hard-to-find "God rest ye merry gentleman", from the "Crackers International Part II" EP. A redux version was included with other bonus tracks on an expensive pre-order only special boxset edition of the album that few of us had a chance to own. I hate these modern marketing ploys!
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on 9 December 2014
This isn't your usual tinsel and sleigh bells Christmas album. Thank goodness Erasure have taken a different approach to the classic songs covered on this album.

The original tracks on here are decent, classic Erasure sounding songs, Loving Man being my favourite, but it's the classic Christmas songs that really grabbed me on this album. The much darker, haunting take on the songs have made them unique, and beautiful. Silent Night and Bleak Midwinter almost bring me to tears with the superb vocals from Andy Bell and Vince Clarke's minimalist orchestration. Sleep Quietly could easily fit into any Tim Burton movie, such is it's quirkyness. Andy said that Silver Bells is a cover of the Jim Reeves version, and after hearing the record played for years by my father I can appreciate this slower, almost melancholic version. White Christmas was recorded in a subway station, and on hearing it I can't help but think this could be a homeless person singing it to himself, longing to be with family.

There's only one track I skip on this album....The Christmas Song. It's never been a favourite of mine, and this version does nothing to change that. The 8-bit music doesn't help the track in any way.

Apart from that , this album is one to listen to if you're in a quiet, reflective mood over the holidays, or if you're just fed up of hearing the same songs done the same way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2014
Reviews about music are subjective to the reviewers taste - if you don't like Erasure then you probably won't like this! I however, love them and love this. It's basically their reworking of some Christmas carols and classics, with a couple of original songs thrown in. My particular favourites are 'Gaudette' and 'Silent Night', which I find eerily beautiful. I also bought Annie Lennox's Christmas album, and although I think she's a fabulous singer, I much prefer the Erasure offering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2013
If you love Erasure you'll love this album. The Festive songs all have that sound and feel that typically embody Erasure - imagine wanting to dance to Gaudete!! No? Believe
I listened to the samples and have to say I wasn't impressed - you have to get the album and listen to the tracks fully to appreciate them.
Such a lovely bit of fun for the festive season.
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on 1 December 2013
well after nearly 30 years in the pop business you would think that erasure had lost their magic touch. And after the last album tomorrows world, I thought that it had happened. Was time for them to hang up the synths for good.
Then earlier in the year it was announced that they were going to do a Christmas album and I thought of all the other accts that have done this and have ruined a great career.

So let me tell you of the delight that you will have in this album it is nothing short of pure pop magic.
It starts with a classic melody and moves you through new erasure penned songs and Christmas classics but they are stripped back to the essence of the song ,getting rid of all the bells and whistles and leaving the core of each song.
The more you listen the more you find ,gaudete is pure quality pop ,silent night and white Christmas are beautifully done
and the whole album is a joy to listen to , are they back on form you bet ,and with all that you want from a band with an edge that only erasure can do
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on 10 December 2013
Overall, I did enjoy the new Erasure album. It is a bit of a mixed bag, though.

There are 5 new songs, which sound very much like `normal' Erasure songs and on first listen, not that seasonal/festive.

Where it works well, is on the older carols. Andy's voice and the minimal electronic backing sound effective. Silent Night is very nice, there is a very weird take on The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting...) which I'm not sure works and a very strange version of White Christmas that I think probably does just about work. For this one, it sounds like they've gone for a very primitive electro backing and the vocals sound like they could have been recorded in the 30/40s.

I think they should have gone for a complete album of traditional songs done in an Erasure way, rather than mix their more modern, original songs in with it.

I'll need to hear it a couple more times but nice to hear some new takes on some old seasonal favourites.
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