Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Andy Bell Goes Non Stop

Andy Bell, as some of you might recall, was a big part of Erasure. As part of this seminal group, he and Vince Clarke racked up five number one albums, have written songs that even your grandmother would probably recognize (see, "A Little Respect"), and sold roughly 20 million or so albums. To say his career hasn't been prolific would be an understatement and to say it's not been busy would just be wrong. And yet, somehow, with such a schedule Bell has found time to launch and nurture a solo career. His latest solo album, Non-Stopfinds bell taking elements of Erasure and modernizing them with an up front disco pop, clubby sound.

Non-Stop sees Bell polishing his songwriting skills once again and creating something that's ridiculously solid and loaded with super catchy songs that will light up a dance floor like a beacon in the night. With massive hooks and choruses that are easier to remember than your ABC's, Bell creates an inescapable barrage of sugar coated sparkly dance numbers that are so overpowering you're feet can't help but move is some sort of awkward motion that might resemble dancing. This is the sound of a liberated Bell and his overwhelming desire to create up front glammy disco pop that takes things in a more soulful direction than his day job would ever allow (and if you know Erasure...that's saying something). Non-Stopis an excellent album that is completely up front and that's pure club goodness that's packed to the gills with potential singles and even a duet with Janes Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell.

From the upfront clubby house of, "Running Out," to the dark downtempo soulful ballad of "Slow Release," Non-Stop literally never stops. Sure there are peaks and valley's, but you get the sense that this is so you can catch your breathe before the bangers begin again and begin again they do, with the dark electro synth washes of, "Touch." Non-Stop is a fantastic record that might hint of Erasure but never sounds like anything his other band has done. This is an impressive effort, but that really should be no surprise to anyone. Andy Bell, afterall, has been around the block a few times and after 20+ years in the business it's a pretty sure bet he can write a chart topping pop song in his sleep.

Excellent dance fodder that's dressed for the occasion and ready to go, Non-Stop is a never-ending party that proves ol' Andy Bell still has a few tricks up his sleeves. Recommended.

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