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The Two Ring Circus

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Album Review

Originally released on double vinyl some months after The Circus, thus its title, The Two Ring Circus is a time-killer release that actually stands very well on its own. Collecting remixes as well as re-recordings and live tracks, it at once makes for a good alternate take on the previous album as well as showing off further strengths of the duo. The seven remixes kick off the set, two by Erasure with assistance from either Flood or Eric Radcliffe, one by Flood with Mute Records boss Daniel Miller, and the rest by other outside DJs and producers. Little Louie Vega gets the honors for the best overall mix, though — his revamping of "Hideaway" turns the gentler surge of the coming-out-and-leaving-home tune into an orchestral blast-infused full-on dance anthem. The three re-recordings, of The Circus' "If I Could" and "Spiralling" and Wonderland's "My Heart...So Blue," are each marvelous, substituting the synths and beats of the original for orchestral arrangements by Andrew Poppy. All three were strong ballads to begin with; here, Bell plays off the quietly dramatic takes with skill and style, arguably making each of them better than the originals. The concluding six songs are from a German show on the Circus tour — it doesn't say so anywhere on the disc, but Bell's between-song yelps of "Danke!" gives that much away. All the takes are lively and the audience reactions near hysterical. It concludes with a fine run-through of Abba's "Gimme Gimme Gimme," originally done as an early B-side.

Customer Reviews

Reinterpreting The Circus

This album followed on the heels of Erasure's breakthrough album "The Circus," and consists of remixed and live versions of songs from "The Circus" and "Wonderland." Though the tracks here do not improve on the originals, they are often interesting reinterpretations. The best remix here is "Leave Me to Bleed," which was good in the original, but gains an extra layer of mystery and melancholy here. I think the orchestral versions tend toward the melodramatic--each of the orchestral tracks (8,9,10) was better in the original. The live versions display Andy Bell's still maturing voice, and some alternate arrangements of the songs. Remixes were always an essential part of Erasure's career, and have always informed my listenings of the originals, but they rarely improve on the original versions, so this is why only 3 stars here. Worth having, but not better than "The Circus" itself.

Great, But Not Their Most Amazing

I liked this album a lot, im an enormous fan of erasure! Andy Bell is one of my heroes. It is a very spectacular album and offers some great re-mixes, isnt their best work. It is noteworthy and buyable, but not something to put on your favorites list...


Formed: 1985 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Following the disbandment of the short-lived synth pop group Yazoo, former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke formed Erasure in 1985 with singer Andy Bell. Like Yaz and Depeche Mode, Erasure were a synth-based group, but they had stronger dance inclinations, as well as a sharper, more accessible sense of pop songcraft, than either of Clarke's previous bands. Furthermore, Erasure had the flamboyantly eccentric Andy Bell -- one of the first openly gay performers in pop music -- as their focal point....
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