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Erasure's January release, Nightbird (Mute), shows that gay techno can indeed by cryogenically frozen, thawed out, and still sound just as fresh (and melodramatic, and cheesy, and splendid) as it was 20 years ago when former Depeche Mode and Yazoo collaborator Vince Clarke found lamenting singer Andy Bell to provide the vocals for his synth-pop confections. Bell is as unrepentantly sincere as ever on songs like 'Breathe' -- 'Whenever you throw your arms around me/ You know that I'll be there' -- which almost approaches the dance-club-anthem grandeur of 'A Little Respect' and 'Chains of Love.' Erasure has long been content to produce catchy singles more than fully realized albums, as the lovely 1992 retrospective Pop! The First 20 Hits proves. Nightbird follows this blueprint, a testament to this pair's consistency. Can the Pet Shop Boys say the same thing? (Meow!) That Clarke is straight and Bell is gay shows that maybe we can all get along, after all. Tickets $32.50 advance, $37.50 door.
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