Review Summary: Yazoo's swansong showed signs that the incredibly short-lived duo were losing momentum, but manages to redeem itself with brilliant efforts like 'Nobody's Diary'.
Starting out with undeniably its strongest track, it only takes a couple more songs before the realisation that Yazoo’s second and final album, 'You And Me Both', is a weaker effort than the duo’s stellar debut. 'Nobody’s Diary' is pure synth-pop gold, with a catchy, bouncy melody and rather well written lyrics, "I don’t want to be just another page in your diary", but after the opener nothing really grabs as much. 'Upstairs At Eric’s', started off strong, but maintained quality throughout with 'Only You' appearing halfway through. This album, however, doesn’t have the same number of highs to make the average moments seem as tolerable, unlike 'Eric’s' where the listener could rest, knowing a hitter was only a couple of tracks away.
This reviewer doesn’t want to give the wrong portrayal of 'You And Me Both' - although it doesn’t trump Clarke and Moyet’s debut, that in itself is hardly a condemning factor, considering that beating an album that spawned two of synth-pops best gems ('Only You' and 'Don’t Go') would be a daunting task for any band. 'Sweet Thing' features a sprightly, energetic rhythm, 'Softy Over' is a slower and more familiar Yaz number and 'Mr Blue' sounds like a pop-leaning Erasure track, two years premature.
It’s not just 'Mr Blue' that has traces of an early Erasure sound, as the rather chintzy 'Good Times' features a similar, sickly-sweet tune. The tracks get a tad more interesting from thereon in, as 'Walk Away From Love' vaguely sounds like the Depeche Mode, 'Speak & Spell' era 'Just Can’t Get Enough'. It’s not as effective as the aforementioned track, but its quirky bleeps and buzzes will be familiar to any fan of the 'Mode’s' debut, whilst 'Ode to Boy' - one of the high points on the record - dares to slow things down with a sluggish, dingy melody and disjointed, echoed vocals from Moyet.
'Happy People' is a surprise upon first listen, as its not Moyet’s familiar bluesy howl that fills your ears, but rather Vince Clarke’s distant voice. His vocals are surprisingly fine, (Ok, they don’t impress when sat next to 10 brilliantly sung Moyet tracks, but they work well within the song) but because they sound slightly unconcerned and cold it gives a song that’s the most lyrically happy (“We’re the happy, happy people”) on an album dominated by upbeat tunes, a slightly ironic feel, intended or not.
The fact that 'You And Me Both' immediately reveals itself to be a great deal less entertaining than Yazoo’s debut shouldn’t deter any fans of 'Upstairs At Eric’s' from giving it a whirl, as there are more than enough satisfying moments to warrant a listen. Also, Clarke deserves a decent amount of credit for two things: 1) Experimenting with the bands sound (the majority of the second half is dominated by slower, cathartic tracks - different to the first album that, bar one or two songs, was consistently upbeat); and 2) Realising when to end a musical project before it becomes completely tired and unimportant - fortunately a trait ‘You And Me Both’ narrowly managed to avoid.