One is a very camp man who wears leotards and has an astonishing vocal range; the other is a synth nerd who already had Depeche Mode‘s first album and both of Yazoo‘s under his belt before they even got started. But the unlikely combination of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke built up an extremely accomplished career through the late eighties and early nineties. Their more recent output might have stalled a little, but with a past like theirs it’s difficult to criticise.
Their violent kickstarting of the 1992 Abba revival; Love to Hate You (1991); Who Needs Love (Like That) (1985); Sometimes (1987); A Little Respect (1988); and many others.
Where to start
You’ll get a good idea of most of their career to date from the double disc compilation Total Pop! The First 40 Hits (2007). It does tail off a little towards the end, but it’s worth the extra disc for Always and Rock Me Gently, among others.
What to buy
Begin with their absolute pinnacle Chorus (1991), and then hop back an album to Wild! (1989). If you’re feeling adventurous after that, jump forward to 1995 for their eponymous experimental masterpiece Erasure.
Don’t bother with
Pretty much anything from 2000 onwards – Light at the End of the World (2007) in particular is a low point in a sea of low. You could probably skip most of debut Wonderland (1986) too.
Although inconsistent, they have snuck a few excellent b-sides in amongst everything else, such as Supernature (1989), Let it Flow (1991), and Tenderest Moments (1994). For all the album’s shortcomings, Love is the Rage from Loveboat (2000) is haunting.