With Snow Globe Erasure has created one of the most unusual Christmas albums of the year. Their versions of seasonal favorites such as “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” are quite lovely, while the new songs sometimes feel as if we are visiting the dark side of the Christmas tree. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have offered their fans something unique with every Erasure album, and this holds true with Snow Globe.
One key point is that none of the five originals are Christmas songs per se. They fit in perfectly with the classics, but they could have appeared on any Erasure record. The opening “Bells of Love (Isabelle‘s of Love)” is a case in point. Despite the use of the word “bells” in the title, there is really nothing about this that makes it a purely Christmas song. It is certainly a good tune though and, like so many of the duo’s songs, it expresses their sadness at the state of the world. Erasure has always been about tolerance, and this track also offers hope in changing things.
The same holds true for the next Clarke/Bell composition, “Make it Wonderful.” Again the song has very little to do with the holidays, but fits in perfectly. Despite the title, this is not a happy tune. Be that as it may, “Make it Wonderful” is probably the best original on the album.
Those two are somewhat sad, but there is none darker than “Blood on the Snow.” As one might imagine from the title, “Blood on the Snow” is rough going. Far more to my taste are the remaining originals, “Loving Man,” and “There’ll Be No Tomorrow.” Both contain upbeat music and lyrics and are great additions to the set.
The release of Snow Globe was preceded by the single “Gaudete,” which was smart. Hearing Bell intone the Latin lyrics to this traditional song is very cool, especially with the vintage electro arrangement. The foreboding tubular bells are an inspired touch as well. “Silver Bells” closes the set with more bells and, like all of the other covers, is everything a fan could ask for.
Snow Globe is not exactly a traditional Christmas album, but Erasure is not exactly a traditional group. Their mix of the old with the new is perfect, and very gratifying to hear. I have heard many lesser bands try to update their sound and in the process lose everything that made them interesting in the first place.
There seems to be no fear of that ever happening with Erasure. The five new songs on Snow Globe are great, I just hope to hear a full album of original material soon. For now, we finally have an Erasure Christmas album, which is something I never thought would happen.