Yaz / Reconnected Live


Reconnected Live

Yazoo (Also known as Yaz in the US) are an English synthpop duo from Basildon, Essex. They had a number of Top 10 hits in the UK charts in the early 1980s. Formed in late 1981 by former Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clarke (synthesizer) and English singer Alison Moyet (vocals), Yazoo were signed to Mute Records in the United Kingdom and (as “Yaz”) to Sire Records in the United States.

Yazoo’s debut single “Only You” backed with “Situation“, was released on 15 March 1982 and rose to number two in the UK charts. Yazoo released two successful studio albums, Upstairs at Eric’s in 1982 and You and Me Both in 1983. Shortly after, Moyet and Clarke decided to break up. Moyet pursued a solo career while Clarke went on to form Erasure, another synth pop duo. Yazoo reunited in 2008 with a tour in Europe and the United States and the release of a four-disc box set.

Though the band’s initial run was short-lived, Yazoo continues to influence and inspire many of today’s bands, including LCD Soundsystem, Shiny Toy Guns, Blaqk Audio,[1] Hercules and Love Affair,[2] La Roux, and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream.

The 10 July concert Yazoo played at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, California has been recorded to be re-aired on Richard Blade’s Sirius Radio Show.[19]

A live album, Reconnected Live, of their successful European and North American ‘Reconnected Tour’ was released 27 September 2010.

The Analysis: Disc One

Nobody’s Diary—-This track, for me, is perhaps one of the best songs in this band’s catalog. This was the song I cut my ‘Yaz Teeth’ on and still plays remarkably well. This live version is spot on, Moyet sounds a bit more aged and seasoned…but it fits the feel of the song magically well. Clarke delivers a nice amped up and much heavier bass based version of the song. This is fantastic!!!

Bad Connection—-With a huge thank you to the crowd, the duo again launch into a fantastic track from Upstairs At Eric’s. The remarkable think to hear is how much more powerful this music is today with new technology and updated synth effects. This is riddled with Depeche Mode style synths…sounding like it was written right after the demise of Clarke as a member. This is fresh…crystal clear and delivered with a remarkable vocal from Moyet.

Mr. Blue—-Another favorite track of mine, this is haunting and full of melancholy synth majesty. This stays wonderfully true to the original pressing of the song…I would want nothing else. The band never had the chance to play this live, as they broke up before this album was released…so this is a debut of sorts though Alison has played this in her live sets throughout the years. This song is still as poignant and important as the day I first heard it…I’m Mr Blue….the story of my life.

Good Times—-This is one of those Yaz tracks that has survived the decades magically well and is still played in Gay Clubs all of the time. This has a huge synth funk that is great fun, remarkable energy and a vocal that fits Moyet’s range incredibly well. This is incredible…God I wish I could have caught this band live!!! It is amazing how much more beefed up the synth is on this track….technology is a blessing at times!!!

Tuesday—-Beginning with a nice deep sound and the magical synth sounds that almost define Clarke, Moyet enters with a vocal that is so melancholy and full of angst you are able to buy into the fact that Moyet actually feels every single syllable that she is delivering. This is magical melancholy synthpop that only Clarke can deliver.

Ode To Boy—-Another of those songs that has always had a special place for me…many memories go along with this track for me…this is a perfect soundtrack to my early coming out years and the difficulty that ensued. I found solace in music…and this was one band that seemed to write songs JUST FOR ME….that is the magic of music is it not? This is wonderful….delivered spot on and sounding better than ever.

Goodbye 70’s—-This appeared on the debut release, Upstairs’ At Eric’s, and served as an official song to usher in the new decade of synth pop bands and the dance era of the 80’s. this still plays remarkably well…this has a level of energy that is undeniable and a vocal from Moyet that is delivered in her deeper register…sounding better than even the remastered version on CD. This is just fantastic!!!

Too Pieces—-For some reason, I can’t quite place this song…none the less, from the onset it delivers just as you would expect…classic synthpop from Clarke and a remarkable slight bluesy vocal from Moyet. This is sweet….with a synth line that just reeks of the early 80’s….I could never ask for more. Clarke + Moyet = Fabulosity!!!

In My Room—-Well, this is nothing less than stellar. Clarke delivers that wonderful stop and start synth that begins the song while Moyet begins to structure the song with her vocal…enter a nice back drop of synth swirls from Clarke and you have nothing less than yet another masterpiece of a song…this is incredible!

Anyone—-From You And Me Both, this is another of those songs that is magically melancholy despite the abundance of synths running through the underbelly. Moyet has not sounded this good or impassioned in years…seeming like she has been singing these songs for a lifetime rather than here and there. Clarke manages to stay right on course with his instrumentation…only making the intricate sounds brighter and more intense. This is fantastic!!!

Walk Away From Love—-Another of those songs that will live in my memory bank until the day I pass on, this has a remarkable Clarke synth line that is bolstered and even stronger on this release. The bass that is delivered is incredible on this track. I am a bit disappointed by the vocal from moyet…sounding like she was standing three or four feet away from the mike, but the music is glorious and typical Clarke…delivered with enough effects to keep Yaz fans happy for a lifetime…this is incredible…even with the diminished vocal.

Disc Two:

State Farm—-Delivering another spot on rendition, Moyet still sounds like she is standing a bit too far from the microphone. The music is incredible…Clarke has all of his wishes realized as he is able to bring about all of those primitive sounds to full fruition thanks to new technology. This was always a great song…it is even better here with the added bass and the extra blips and beeps…this is fantastic!!!

Sweet Thing—-this is one of those tracks that really proved to me that Clarke has his thumb on the pulse of music…despite not realizing it until years later. This track was a precursor to the huge onslaught of everything in the 80’s…Moyet managed to deliver a classic vocal over all of the beats and noise and still keep her sensibilities. This version, is even more progressive and fast…Clarke must have been happy as a lark to actually bring all of these primitive ideas to fruition.

Winter Kills—-Stark, dark and incredibly beautiful. this is the furthest thing from synth pop that you can get…but it only proves the remarkable writing of Clarke. The vocal is a true comfortable factor for Moyet…allowing her to sing low and slow and at a comfortable pace. This is remarkable!!!

Midnight—-For me, this track sounds like it could have been on any number of Erasure releases…there is, to me, a remarkable resemblance at times between Alison and Andy vocally. this is wonderful…fitting in perfectly with much of the material released on the Erasure release ‘Erasure’. Moyet sounds so comfortable and impassioned…Clarke delivers a sweet synth that fits the mood…I could never ask for more!!!

Unmarked—-This song, a classic Yaz track, sounds better than it ever did in its original form. This has also always been a favorite track of mine…the new added synth lines beef up the song and give it a remarkable new life. Moyet sounds much better…like she stepped up closer to the mike, but the star of the show is all of the machine generated music that is supplied by Clarke. This is a standout for me.

Bring Your Love Down [Didn’t I]—-This track begins a suite of high-energy synth driven songs that have been standout tracks in the Yaz catalog since the day they were released. This track, although a bit less known, still allows you to feel the pure energy that they were constructed with. This is just classic Clarke all of the way…this is the precursor to Erasure and it would fit in on any of the early releases from that band. Moyet delivers a great vocal..full of energy and clarity.

Don’t Go—-Another of those songs that is still played in clubs every single night of any given week…still recieving the reaction that it did the first time it was ever played. When Clarke introduces the bass heavy synth for this track, the crowd goes literally mad….everyone seems to know this song and the crowd sings along with Moyet in perfect tandem and enthusiasm. This still sounds remarkable…no matter how many times I have heard this, no matter how many remixes have been issued…this is the best!!!

Only You—-Returning for a joyous encore, Yaz deliver another of those famous songs that still sits well with me all of these years on. this is magical…Clarke delivers even more stellar synths that convey remarkable emotion….even without figuring in the fantastic vocal from Moyet. This is a highlight and trust me when I say…the crowd is manic for this!!!

Situation—-Saving the biggest ‘hit’ for last, the crowd is in total freak-out mode for this song. despite hearing this song 1000 times, in this setting it manages to sound incredibly fresh and new. Clarke and Moyet prove that they had a moment in time..although cut short…has come full circle and provided a remarkable ending for their short tenure in making pop history. The synth lines have never sounded better and this truly shows the genius of Clarke….truly remarkable..a piece of history….injected with a fresh and new energy!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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