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Even more unexpectedly, the ever-present synthesizers and machines come at the end of the process. Rather than arrive at a session with preprogrammed beats or loops, Clarke and Bell create these unconnected bits and pieces with low-tech tools: a guitar and a tape recorder.
"I don't use the technology when we're writing the tunes. We'd never get a song written. We get sidetracked," Clarke says. "The songs that we allow to be on an album are the ones that we can sing with just a guitar accompaniment or piano accompaniment. Those are the strongest."
Lyrically Bell gets personal on Light. "When a Lover Leaves You" is a bittersweet ode to the end of Bell's twenty-year relationship; "Storm in a Tea Cup" shows him reflecting on his mother's underlying strength as she battles alcoholism. But in the end it's clear that Bell is a hopeless romantic -- dig other song titles like "Sucker for Love," "Golden Heart," and "How My Eyes Adore You."
Although Erasure's latest album might not quite be escapist, the Knight Center show Saturday should prove to be a concoction of utter fantasy. The duo's last major national tour, in spring 2005, was a silvery sci-fi explosion. There were soul divas as space-suited back-up singers; Bell, at one point, wearing only a shiny bathing suit and gesturing with large black ostrich feathers; and explosions of actual glitter. And this was for more intimate club gigs.
"Mostly I'll rely on Andy leaping about more than he does already," says Clarke, slightly chuckling. "We've always done costumes and tried to make the show bigger than it really is, just because there are no guitarists running about, or drummer. Andy has a big enough personality onstage to pull that off."
Noticeable at an Erasure gig, too, is the remarkable openness and enthusiasm of the crowd. The group's sweet, hopeful tones and free-your-mind-and-ass rhythms have garnered it an exceptionally rabid fan base.
"We still see faces in the audience that we saw when we first started. I think for some reason people have taken us into their hearts," Clark says. "I think because we're not cool, actually. We're not standing onstage and trying to be cool at all. People really like that in an artist or a musician."