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Just Can’t Get Enough Faith and Devotion–
Why We Still Buy Into Depeche Mode

For at least 15 years now I’ve been buying the new Depeche Mode album in hope of some great reward.

Sorry for the pun, but even the most devout fan of DM has to admit that there has not been an album as wholly powerful as their 1993 angst-filled studio release Songs of Faith and Devotion.

Their latest release, Delta Machine, is five full studio efforts later (not to mention the solo attempts of Gore and Gahan). My initial reaction to the release matched my disappointment with those past five, but that sells the album short. This is an album to be explored deeper with repeated plays, and possibly, dare I say it, their best since 1993.

Every now and again, a beloved band from our cherished MTV decade of post-punk and electronic pop churns out another attempt at recapturing their youth. Not unlike the previous generation’s rock gods, from Rolling Stones to Aerosmith, a lot of our favorite artists are out to prove that video did not in fact kill the radio star. Recent efforts from Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and David Bowie have been getting good reviews for their throwback (and frankly embrace) to what made them great in the first place.

Depeche Mode, not unlike groups of following generations (Radiohead especially), seem to always be pushing forward to experiment and find their “new sound,” regardless of their core audience. On Delta Machine the band pushes the goth and industrial overtones heavy, but breaking through it all (most of the time) is a younger, catchier Depeche Mode. One that you might just sing along with.

Overall the album is representative of their newer direction, still pushing out very sophisticated electronic beats.

Welcome to My World opens the album with the same gusto that I Feel You gave on Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the band is wise to put it in the first position.  Every so often there’s a burst of energy like Soft Touch/Raw Nerve that harkens back to even Violator, arguably their masterpiece as a band.  Angel is a wise choice for single release from the album.  It’s a blues tune at its core, complimented by some of Gahan’s best crooning in a while.  That track reminds me to some extent of the Violator track Sweetest Perfection, but so does Secret to the End.  It’s not a bad thing.

Delta Machine nevertheless is not without some moments that could have been left for the B-Side, whatever that means today. Digital being the primary vehicle of music in the 21st century to date has done nothing for efficiency in package. But then again, I’m probably one of the last folks on earth that consider an album to be listened to in order from start to finish.

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