World Be Gone

Erasure

Erasure barely acknowledge the dance floor on World Be Gone, filling their 17th album with tunes worried about the state of the world but hopeful love can still make a difference.

Vince Clarke commands the synthesizers as well as ever while Andy Bell’s voice has acquired an expressive, pliant huskiness.

The sunniest, most buoyant tracks are bookends — yearning first single Love You to the Sky and Just a Little Love, which could be early Erasure (or late Yazoo).

The other eight tracks are more reflective, touching on issues of the heart, the way our lives are affected by factors beyond our control and our lack of attentiveness to what we could change.

The dark, robotic Oh What a World sees the globe as “sheer madness” where admission into a witness protection program is an extreme attempt at escapism. Still It’s Not Over recounts how much has been gained in gay rights but knows much remains to be achieved.

Lousy Sum of Nothing laments insensitivity, how switching channels is practically all the response we can muster to tragedies.

— Pablo Gorondi

Associated Press

The Thirst

Jo Nesbo

It all starts with a Tinder date in a bar appropriately called Jealousy and ends with death on an ice-covered fjord. In between, The Thirst, the latest Harry Hole crime thriller by Jo Nesbo, is filled with horrific murder scenes intensely detailed enough to chill the blood.

The women of Oslo, Norway, are being killed by what appears to be a vampire — the perpetrator is drinking their blood — and Hole, now sober and lecturing at the Police College, is drawn to run a parallel investigation.

Nesbo’s cast includes his wife Rakel, who is suffering headaches, and her son Oleg, who is attending the Police College; a tabloid reporter, Mona Daa, and a policeman who is leaking details to her; a criminal forensics expert, Bjorn, and the lead detective on the case; and Katrina, who recently split up with him, as well as a police chief with suspect motivations.

It’s frightening enough with a killer on the loose, but even the good guys have secrets. Hole struggles to keep control of his fragile mental state and his drinking; he even comes face-to-face with the murderer but is forced to let him go.

The story is filled with enough side plots to keep readers guessing about the killer’s identity and to keep Hole obsessed.

You’ll want to sink your teeth into The Thirst and not let go.

— Jonathan Elderfield

Associated Press

Neva Left

Snoop Dogg

There’s a strong whiff of the past on Snoop Dogg’s new album, starting with the cover: A throwback photo of the young rapper taken almost 25 years ago. The title is a nod to his endurance.

The D-O-Double G may be spending time on talk shows, designing soccer cleats or cooking with Martha Stewart, but he still seem to have lots to prove on his 15th studio CD, a deeply chaotic album that reflects hip-hop’s constant changes swirling around ever-fixed Snoop.

The rap legend is aided by almost 20 guests, including KRS-One, Redman, Charlie Wilson, Method Man, Wiz Khalifa and October London. Whoever comes, Snoop keeps up.

Go On is an R&B treat and Bacc in Da Dayz, which samples early Tribe Called Quest, was clearly designed to make your car shake so hard the mirrors might fall off. Big Mouth doesn’t just sound like a blast from the past — it’s like listening to the Big Bang of rap.

His nasally voice is characteristically unrushed and distant, his lyrics precise, his flow coolly menacing.

It wouldn’t a Snoop album without at least one ode to weed and Neva Left has two — the club-friendly Mount Kushmore and 420 (Blaze Up). But there are a few lazy songs, including Trash Bags, Swivel and Moment I Feared.

“The party don’t rock like it used to rock,” he says. So the hip-hop kingpin, now a grandfather, is showing us how it’s done, once again.

— Mark Kennedy

Associated Press