Few voices have more fervently served the cause of dancefloor endorphins than the crystalline croon of Erasure's Andy Bell – which is why the metallically processed "Hold meeeee" that opens the British duo's 14th album prompts wide-eyed confusion. Did someone just Auto Tune the angel of synthpop? Twenty-six years after the act's first single, the nine-song set shows that keyboardist-mastermind Vince Clarke's genius for weaving grand melodies with ecstatic beats is still intact, but tinny vocal compression muddles throbbers like "Whole Lotta Love Run Riot." Bell's voice is thankfully less fettered in "I Lose Myself" and the yearning torch song "Just When I Thought It Was Ending"; let's hope we don't lose him again.
Listen to "Whole Lotta Love Run Riot":