Andy Bell – Crazy (Sanctuary single, 2005)

Andy Bell 'Crazy' artwork

sanctuary records | san396 | 26/09/2005

If I was Erasure‘s Andy Bell upon listening to the top 40 on the Sunday after this came out in September 2005, I think I’d be pretty livid as my debut solo single entered the charts at 35. For a start I’d feel like my own fan base – loyal still after 20 years and responsible earlier this year for propelling Erasure’s ‘Breathe’ to number four in the UK charts earlier in the same year – had failed to support my first solo efforts. But I’m not Andy Bell, I just evidently appear to be one of the few Erasure fans who bothered to buy ‘Crazy’. On all three formats too, traitors.

What’s not to like? ‘Crazy’ is an infectious, anthemic track that would sound excellent in certain clubs, with a throbbing beat and bassline overlaid by masterful synths. Does it sound like Erasure? Well, yes and no – Andy delivers one of his most euphoric vocals while Other People’s Songs collaborators Manhattan Clique dip their toes in Vince Clarke-like synth progressions, giving the feel of a one of the better of Erasure remixes from over the years. And yet the lyrics are somehow more direct, and in some respects not so ‘literal’, giving the feel of a proper dancefloor-oriented style; and Vince had never been able to lay down such a tightly pulsing 4/4 beat by this point in his own career (sorry Vince). What can I say? It should have been far bigger.

The two-track CD1 comes with a radio edit of ‘Crazy’ (which was mixed by occasional Erasure assistant Bob Kraushaar) and the playful B-side ‘Little Girl Lies’, wherein Manhattan Clique’s Philip Larsen and Chris Smith are joined by Adrian Revell, Winston Rollins and Martin Shaw on horns. This has a soulful pop style, reminding me most of ‘Paradise’, the B-side to Erasure’s ‘Drama!’.

CD2 has remixes from Cicada and King Roc which intensify the clubby sound of ‘Crazy’, while Manhattan Clique offer what seems to be an extended mix. Vince Clarke lends his support (unlike you, you know who you are) with what was then his first remix in ages, and it’s distinctive Clarke material – a quirky synth hook and odd percussion. Surely this alone was worth buying this for? The DVD features the apparently expensive video which features masked cops with truncheons, angel wings and folk with flames instead of faces, and Andy Bell looking as confused by this garish Dali meets Bosch vision of hell as I am. If you want close-ups of Andy’s silver-painted nipple (come on, for some of you this must have made you want to buy this), you will be gratified by the photo gallery that accompanies the audio of the pleasant acoustic version of ‘Crazy’ and the B-side ‘Names Change’.

First published 2005; re-edited 2015.

(c) 2015 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

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