That this record was made over three years ago is evidenced by the spider webs collecting in Vince Clarke's production. Once innovative but now sadly behind the curve, the beats here sound amateur, the synth lines strangely like the preset loops that come loaded into most keyboards. Meanwhile, Andy Bell's normally ebullient voice is downright atonal on the listless "Crying in the Rain." Perhaps it's because he's still singing those same stupid lyrics: "Everybody hurts when you're playing the game of love." (Dude, Andy, maybe it's just not your game.) The fun that permeated the band's classic tunes like "Oh L'Amour," "A Little Respect," and "Chains of Love" seems very distant here. In its place are dour production and deflated vocals.
Loveboat doesn't just put us veteran Erasure fans off. It makes us want to listen to the act's older albums or catch it in the live arena -- anything to help us remember that band we were once so in love with. Not only will this record not earn Erasure any new fans, it could endanger the loyalty of its tried-and-true admirers.