English synth-pop pair Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, known as Erasure, have gotten into the festive spirit with their first full-length holiday album, Snow Globe. If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more cringe-worthy than when musicians make holiday albums, but Erasure have found a way to make it work. The overworked classic Christmas tunes, including Silent Night and White Christmas, have received a synth-pop makeover making them fresh, fun and wonderfully unique. The duo have taken on a darker and less-merry approach to Christmas lyrically and musically on some tracks to balance the regular cheer of the Holidays.
Beginning with the original Bells of Love, it becomes instantly apparent that Snow Globe is more classic Erasure than classic Christmas. The Chains of Love and Love To Hate You singers have continued their classic electronic sound which brought them so much success since the mid 80’s into their newest release Snow Globe. Vocalist Andy Bell sings the upbeat number over the synth and electro pop beats the two are so famous for.
Gaudete, released as a single from the album, is a brand new take on a sixteenth century Christmas Carol. The video features animations created by animators from Tim Burton’s studio, which matches the dark sounding yet undeniably catchy track.
Make It Wonderful is a powerful arrangement showing off Bell’s clean voice and featuring an explosive electronic chorus which leads into the more subdued and sinister sounding Sleep Quietly which sounds as though it could have come off the soundtrack for A Nightmare Before Christmas.
The duo’s covers of the traditional Silent Night and Silver Bells are more true to the originals than some of their other covers, but still have a distinct Erasure vibe to them. The soft synth beats and lack of jingle bells and other festive sounds create a genuinely original take on these classics, which is a refreshing change from other overworked Holiday albums.
Towards the back end of the album is Blood on the Snow, which is as dark lyrically and musically as the name suggests. According to keyboardist Vince Clarke, the idea for the song was Andy’s, who sent Clarke a recording from his phone. Clarke recalled being initially reluctant to create a holiday album until the two could find a unique angle for it, which was demonstrated by tracks like Blood on the Snow.
Snow Globe is a refreshingly unique take on a Holiday album which impressively re-works classic songs without simply reproducing them which has been done so often in the past. Offering songs with darker twists on the traditional cheery season of Christmas is a distinctly original musical exploration. By bringing in their classic synth pop sound and applying it to Holiday music, Erasure have produced a wonderfully original new album for the festive season.
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