Andy Bell/Non-Stop

Non-StopAndrew IvanAndyBell (born 25 April 1964) is the lead singer of the English synthpop duo, Erasure.

Originally working in a meat packing plant in the UK, Bell responded to a newspaper advert that was looking for a singer. He was picked by Vince Clarke and together they formed the group Erasure. The pair has sold over twenty million albums worldwide.

Apart from his work with Erasure, he has taken part in numerous charity recordings. These included Ferry Aid’s cover of “Let It Be” (1987); a cover of Cole Porter‘s “Too Darn Hot“, that was included in 1990s Red Hot + Blue album to raise funds for AIDS and HIV research; re-making Lene Lovich‘s “Rage” alongside her to be included in PETAs album (1991) in favour of a wildlife campaign; and performing twice on Big Spender’s Red Hot and Dance events to support various AIDS projects (in both December 1994 and November 2004). Bell also performed on the True Colors Tour 2008.

Bell sang the role of Montresor in the opera The Fall of the House of Usher by Peter Hammill and Judge Smith, released in 1991 and reissued with a new recording in 1999.

July 2005 brought the announcement of Bell’s first solo album. He signed a worldwide solo recording contract with Sanctuary Records, and announced details of his debut album, which was released on 3 October 2005 and entitled Electric Blue. The album featured fourteen tracks, including three duets, with Claudia Brücken of Propaganda and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters.

The first single, “Crazy”, released on 26 September 2005, included club remixes from his Erasure partner Vince Clarke, plus Cicada, MHC and King Roc. Electric Blue was co-written and recorded throughout 2004 and 2005 with Manhattan Clique (Philip Larsen and Chris Smith) who have worked with Erasure, Moby, The B-52’s, Stereophonics and Goldfrapp.

Bell released his second solo album, Non-Stop, on 7 June 2010.[1] It was co-written and co-produced by Bell and Pascal Gabriel, who previously remixed “It Doesn’t Have to Be” for Erasure. It also features a collaboration with Perry Farrell.

Using the pseudonym Mimó, Bell released two Pascal Gabriel-produced singles on Mute Records: “Running Out” (2009)[2] and “Will You Be There?” (2010)[3] prior to his second solo album.[4] The name, used as a “tribute to good friend Tomeau Mimó”, was not used on any subsequent solo releases, as a legal block was issued against Bell by another artist already using the Mimó name.[5] Both songs will appear on Non-Stop.[1] Both of these singles have since been re-branded as Andy Bell.

Originating from the Dogsthorpe area in Peterborough, he has family still residing locally in the city and surrounding areas such as Market Deeping. He was a long time partner of Paul J. Hickey. Since the early 2000s, he also practises reiki. He is also openly gay. On 17 December 2004 he publicly announced that he is HIV-positive and has been aware of this since 1998.

Running Out—-Full from the onset of the heavy synths that we require from this man, the vocal at the onset is a bit odd…running through machines until the chorus allows for the entrance of Bell’s true pleasant vocal. The next verse again finds the voice coming across as mutated….this is not necessary…we all know that this guy can sing. The synths are masterful..full of deep house sounds that can set the floor on fire. This is nice, but leave his voice alone already!

Call On Me—-The first proper single from the release,  the remixes for this track are incredible. The synth lines are a nice throwback sound that is almost disco in sound. The underlying bass line is progressive in nature and really controls the speed and tempo of the song. The chorus is a huge affair that you would expect. This is fun, a bit melancholy but still damn danceable!

Subject/Object—-This is delicious!!! The synth lines are dark and tepid…the bass is rather deep. The vocal seems to be recorded in a tunnel, almost sounding removed from the song. The lines though…pure pop masterpiece of perfection. The chorus falls a little bit flat, but the energy and the great lyrics makes up for it. This is great!!!

Say What You Want—-This is nice, but I yearn for the familiar voice to be matched with the familiar Clarke synth. This is way different for me…amazing though. The chorus is a nice double layered delivery that makes the song soar and makes you want to lose yourself on a dark dance floor with a nice bright revolving disco ball. This is so nice…one of my favorite tracks.

Will You Be There?—-This has a bit more of a familiar feel, although it is rather different to hear Bell delivering his vocal is a much deeper tone. This has nice breaks and the chorus opens up and becomes this huge stomper that brings an automatic smile to my face. When the synth really kicks in during the brief chorus, it is grand and fantastic. This is incredible…just what I needed!

Slow Release—-Delivering a nice synth ballad, Bell sings of things that we can all relate to. This has a nice plodding delivery that allows for Bell to really show off his voice…the double tracked vocal gives the song a huge feel and although a bit sedate, this is still synth magic.

Touch—-With a huge dance synth that gives the song an extra jolt of power, Bell delivers a classic vocal with some nice falsetto lines you do not hear from him so much anymore. This is energetic and travels at a really great pace. The drawback…some of the synths that run through this release sound exactly like the other…the release at times, plays like one long song. Still, this is exquisite.

Non-Stop—-This has that classic Erasure style all over it…reminding me so much of a great Clarke composition. The vocal is again a bit muted..I hate it when they do that. Bell has a wonderful voice and they should just let it be. This title track still remains my favorite track on this release…the chorus is full of huge bombastic lines that give you a nice euphoric feel. Wonderful!!!

DHDQ—-This is superb from the very onset…the only drawback is again the slight removed vocal that sounds like it was recorded in another room. But when Bell when does let loose, it is fantastic. Dirty Harry, Drag Queen….is hilarious, campy and full of all the innuendos you would expect from Andy…never one to be shy about his sexuality, this is a great gayland romp.

Honey, If You Love Him [That’s All That Matters]—-This is AWESOME!!! I love the deep rolling bass line that turns this into a nice dance floor romp that you can not escape. The vocal is interesting…rather deep with lots of little effects. This has a nice space feel, the sound is airy and fresh. Really nice!!! And Perry only adds to the wonderful feel of the song. Fantastic!!!

****1/2 out of 5


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