Cowboys [Remastered] by Erasure – Album Review

Cowboys [Remastered] by Erasure – Album Review (2)

By Victoria Holdsworth

This may be a remaster, but Erasure really didn’t need to prove any points from the past incarnation of this album. However, what they have collectively produced, with some of the most respected names in the electronica industry, is sheer excellence.

This 2CD Expanded Edition is the first reissue since the initial release in 1997. Cowboys was the band’s eighth studio album, so why try and polish perfection?

Well, the answer lies in the overall production. The sound quality is outstanding, with the first disc being essentially the original album version, while the second disc is a heady mix of completely unreleased brand-new material, all containing alternative and extended tracks, with some great live recordings thrown in for good measure.

There isn’t much to be said for the first album, except that it sounds even more remarkable with a few tweaks and twiddles in production, bringing it up to speed with modern methods of sound production. It is an album of pure, unadulterated grown-up pop music.

Cowboys [Remastered] by Erasure – Album Review (1)

Vince Clark and Andy Bell of Erasure

“Dimensions of sound”

The dynamDimensions ic duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have always been consistent, and this album contained so many chart-toppers that you will have already forgotten half of them by the time you finish the album.

Disc two of the set is a must for any Erasure fan, with its unreleased remixes, demos and B-sides. It even contains an extended version of ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie.

The anthemic ‘Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me’ has been expertly remixed by Belgium’s synth-pop aficionado, Telex, while other tracks, such as Rain, have been completely reinvented by legends Blancmange and Stealing Sheep.

The modern take on the remixes is exhilarating to listen to, adding new levels and dimensions of sound to already timeless tracks.

The undeniably catchy hooks are still prevalent, and the 80s/90s still shine through every bar, especially in the track ‘In My Arms’, with its sweeping chorus, all brought together in a new light with an instrumental remix, which is breathtakingly spectacular to listen to.

“New injection”

Cowboys [Remastered] by Erasure – Album Review (3)This album is undoubtedly Erasure’s most experimental work, and sees Andy and Vince create several extended musical journeys that escape from the typical three-and-a-half-minute pop song. With such a fresh approach, the album deserves much more credit for its attempts to break away from the norm. The songs are diverse and interesting, the production incredibly polished.

For me, however, the standout track on this compilation has little electronica in it, and it is the acoustic version of ‘In My Arms’, which has a much more intimate feel, revealing a whole new level of vulnerability in Bell’s vocals.

The AI Stone mix of ‘Rain’ is a great rendition and still sounds as vibrant and fun as ever, full of theatrics and even more attitude than the original, with some lovely vocal effects lifting the whole thing to another dimension. However, nothing beats listening to this track live.

‘World’s on Fire’ (Demo Version) is another pleasant surprise, with some lovely arrangements throughout, and will have you digging back through all the un-remixed songs to see what the possibilities could actually be for their entire back catalogue of work.

All in all, Erasure have produced two stunningly different albums from the same songs, including one of the best Blondie cover versions you have ever heard. However, the oldies are the goodies, and the new injection of sound production into these tracks has kept them relevant and fresh, while the re-jigged versions of the songs really show the depth that their music has always had.


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