Known as Yaz in the USA, Yazoo is the band Vince Clarke formed with Alison Moyet after making Depeche Mode's first album. Clarke went on to form Erasure and Moyet went on to become a solo artist, but the two albums they released are high points of both of their careers.
see Erasure, Depeche Mode, The Assembly, Vince Clarke, Alison Moyet
Information: Yazoo: Unofficial Homepage
Suggested first purchase/album: Upstairs at Eric's
Suggested first best of: Best of Yaz
Upstairs at Eric's (1982) -- Listening to this album, you realize why Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode after making only one album (their first) with them. He was able to inject some bubblegum into their early days, but their spare dark music and thin voices wouldn't have allowed for what Clarke created here with Alison Moyet. Ever-deceptive, Clarke answered Moyet's ad for someone to be in her "rootsy blues outfit" and made this insane electronic music, she delivering overwhelmingly powerful vocals that sound all the more strong with the driving drums, beeps, and thick layers of keyboard. The opening song, "Don't Go," is a perfect example of their combination of talents, followed by the pretty melody of "Too Pieces" and the bubblegum of "Bad Connection." "I Before E Except After C" sounds like what The Art of Noise would eventually produce, and it's a song that doesn't fit on this album exactly, but it shows how different this band was. "Midnight" is one of the strongest songs, starting with a husky a capella Moyet eventually blending perfectly into computer sounds and an addictive vocal delivery. "Only You" has some of the loveliness that would eventually be found in Erasure. "Situation," when heard now, sounds like a hundred other songs, but only because everyone was ripping it off. "Winter Kills" again shows how all over the place this album is, taking it to an almost Gothic level. Clarke would perfect his sound even more with Erasure, but you can see the early version of that greatness here.
You and Me Both (1983) -- Although this is a good album, it doesn't have nearly as much punch as the first one. Only "Walk Away from Love" really stands out on the first listen, but luckily some of the other songs grow on you the more you hear them. You can kind of see how Alison Moyet's bluesy voice (though great) becomes somewhat of a limitation at this point for what Vince Clarke wants to do, so it's good that he found the perfect and versatile voice of Andy Bell the next year when they formed Erasure. You and Me Both, however, is a very nice sendoff to this great band.
Copyright (c) Oct 2005 - Jun 2009 by Rusty Likes Music