Year : 2013
Genre : Synthpop
Label : Columbia
Origin : United Kingdom
Rating : 10/10
With its freshest full length contribution, Depeche Mode remains faithful to the pristine spiritual disposition that has found resonance with a legion of individuals throughout the past 30+ years. The music on the disc is uncompromisingly Depeche Mode and -logically - unrelentingly authentic at that. The album starts out in an impertinently cunning fashion, as the group isn't afraid to park a frightening suggestion into your nervous system, making you startled that they might have been infected by the rampant dub step antics so prevalent in recent days, but right before you would start to acknowledge the presence of the lurking suspicion with a cosmic index finger handy, - sorry - you find yourself in full blown and freshly painted Depeche Mode environments with icy/unrelenting harmonics bending the then-secondary dub step connotations to their irresistible will, and Dave Gahan, OH!, the Dave Gahan still is one golden throat of a million with God's direct approval backing it up - his voice did not lose any charisma at all during the years, if anything, it got even less restrained than it ever was. Time does not "James Hetflieds" the Gahan.
The demeanor of the disc is classic Depeche Mode in the sense that the pacing cultivates and maintains the trademark transcendental urge throughout, a musical and artistic disposition that some equate with gloom, whereas, according to my percepts, the band merely seeks to express the inevitability of existence, the mere Nietzscheian - sorry if there is no such word, Friedrich - helplessness towards it. The message, actually, is totally and completely positive. You just have to look for the logical conclusions. But some butts are just way too massive and lazy to be lifted around by will "alone". All you have to do is looking for the ultimate meaning, and there is nothing that can be taught to you that some part of you does not already know. So, in a sense, it is your responsibility if a Depeche Mode song brings you down. Then that part of you has a deficit, and the group was kind enough to point that out. Negative tendencies? Are you sure? A verbatim quote from this disc : "All I want is love". How does it differ from the psychedelic ethos? If you think Depeche Mode is gloomy, then it is almost entirely sure that you don't understand them. It is cleansing in dirt.
The music still is composed of meticulously realized science-fiction sonic stills, revealing the process in which the individual consciousness attempts to inspect its own nature and its current limitations while living through a human condition. This process necessarily is mysterious, and so should the music be. Depeche Mode always was, is, and I assume, will be the master of revealing this particular mystery, which reigns amidst the greatest ones of them all. From a new Depeche Mode full length, I wanted eloquently articulated mystery, and that is what I got. Read on to know more about the album.
The sounds are gritty, their inherent-, fun and bloated type of arrogance is limited with masterful recognition of their respective appeals and volumetrics, and, as far as the current compositional behavior of the ensemble is concerned, they still tend to construct tamer anatomical sonic constructs that seek to infect/taint the listener's musical awareness via the utilization of exquisite harmonic mystery when the subjectant of the music is least suspecting it. Beauty and restrained alienation emerges hand in hand as testament of the classic (enough) condition in which you are neither animal nor God enough.
The opening track already has been addressed. The main hook equates with the peak moment of the contribution with quite cleverly placed harmonies.
"Angel" is a re-visitation of the earlier Depeche Mode declaration "Personal Jesus", spiced up by a tame and assuaging intermission-hook, which looks particularly good upon its re-activation, following a more intense variant of the verse structure, during which the group shows an unusual willingness to experiment with relatively unorthodox rhythm patterns.
"Heaven" showcases powerful harmonic sense - which is of primordial significance in the context of the formation - and Gahan delivers a particularly emotional vocal performance without flirting with the vistas of evident cheesfestation. The song resonates with "Condemnation", as it is especially notable in the middle section, yet, the verse structure is more reminiscent to the High Octane Broadway Rock Freddy Mercury is eminent master of. Have no doubt that Mr. Mercury would gladly sing the verse of this song, as it is tailor made for his timber - which does not take away anything from Gahan's equally ballsy rendition. In this particular song, the band summons a tint of doom "metal" - even the extreme variant of said sub-genre, funeral doom comes to mind, courtesy of the lush and gloomy harmonics that simply refuse to decide whether to crush the soul or let it go on its way.
I feel that "Secret to End" is a well established routine-song, a track the group probably made when they had no particular ideas at hand, and still decided to form a declaration - I, of course, might be wrong about it. Even if I'm not, it is not a problem, as the song has legitimate bite and believable dignity, and seems to share relative anatomical similarities with the following Depeche Mode songs : "In your room", and "Behind the wheel". Don't believe me? Then check this sequence : 2:42 to 2:50 : if this isn't "In your room", then educate me on my delusions, please. The hook of this song, I feel, is not particularly powerful, and I admire the band for including a relatively less punchy idea. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but not REALLY worthy to the Depeche Mode musicbrand, in my opinion.
Via its opening, "My little Universe" boarders on intriguing experimental vistas, and Gore's backing vocals coat the build into the perfect synthpop environment upon their superbly realized arrival. The song seems to serve the function of an interconnection-field between the remaining portion of the LP and that of its introductory segment, as the chilled out demeanor of the track slowly gives place to a more intense flow characterized by a fervent synthesizer that leaves no effect processor on the face of the planet unvisited.
"Slow" is slow indeed. Boasting a BB King guitar riff and an ultra-lush take on the mere will (??) of All Things Blues, Dave Gahan fills the inventive verse structure with soul, and brings the build to a culmination point that is very reminiscent to their earlier song, "I feel you". The "That's how I like it" part is very similar to the culmination of "I feel you". If you don't feel it, then I don't really feel you.
"Broken" once again showcases an extremely eloquent and adept command of intriguing harmonies, while the song itself is extra-similar - sorry about that - to "Behind the wheel". There is nothing wrong with being similar to yourself, mind us. It is a bad thing only if your previous versions are sad parodies of the "you" the "you" know "you" should be. If "you" are still here, "I" thank "you". To be fair and completely honest, it needs to be mentioned that the song sports a particularly strong hook at 2:35. With this noted peak moment in the fabric, the song exhibits a mature identity, and emerges as a competent variant on "Behind the wheel" up to the point from which you are free to say that "Behind the wheel" is a variation of "Broken", even.
"Child Inside" features lead vocals by Martin Gore, - as far as I know, it is a Depeche Mode tradition that Mr. Gore sings two songs per full length - and the piece itself is yet another exigent take on the emotional field Martin particularly enjoys channeling from, as it is easy to pick up on the anatomical similarities between this particular composition and "One Caress", for example. Sure, "One Caress" is an evident love song, while this one is a musical narrative of the silly little thing called evanescence, - bah, just forget about it! - and the song succeeds in asking you whether you are shitting yourself of evanescence or consider it a game of the primordial consciousness media. The answer is not evident, and that is the reason the song is worthy to perform and a privilege to listen to. The piece contributes a hook that would be a legitimate peak moment for a James Bond theme song as it collides a menacing melodic arch with film-noir harmonics that are stalking cleverly in the background, once again defining the consortium of beauty and mystery the group is renowned for.
"Soft Touch" registers as a hilarious/rebellious 8-bit symphony, Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" orchestrated to raw meat C64 charisma. The track sports tremendous charms with its unrelenting 4/4 pneumatic pummel, and it boasts clever, impertinent, provocative lyrics. The whole track is a splendid re-continuation of the '80s synthpop era, as it really sounds as if the band had access to that particular mental plane all the time, and now they are channeling from it. Super-olds school Depeche Mode revealed in the current second.
"Should Be Higher" brings a particularly beefy bass line and cunningly placed audio ornamentics to provoke this central black hole. During the verse, Dave Gahan lets you soak your ears into his upper-, even head voice register, which is not something you hear very often. The results are very effective and unorthodox, as it is evident that Dave isn't in his comfort zone, but he is mature enough to fail to get frightened of being out of his field. As result of this, this relatively and deliberately unsettling emotion is a peak moment of the release that sticks to you right during the very first listening session. KUDOS! for the Gahan for not refusing to sing this part.
"Alone" is a rather orthodox anatomical build with a decent verse/chorus pair, and the unusually richly detailed and bloated sounds parked in the fabric warrant an experience during which you are invited to zone out as completely as you are capable to - do try this at home. This only is my personal percept, and I like Gahan's vocals in the song, yet I have the impression that an instrumental variant of this track could rival the best - I mean : the BEST - moments of Jeanne Michelle Jarre. (Because Jarre had a galore of terrible moments, trust me, I heard those.)
"Soothe My Soul" is Depeche Mode's "Like a prayer", and life still is a mystery. The verse is orthodox, and it gets supremely and deliciously infected by pulsating science fiction synths that convey fragmented beauty all over the sonic space - THEN the song ends up at a pretty traditional pop chorus that I personally feel leaves something to be desired - but this minor shortcoming still isn't enough to get me in the mood to degrade the overall score I feel the album deserves as an overall audio/soul experience.
"Goodbye" is Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus 63", so to say. Not really a problem, but the similarities are almost absurd this time around : the verse is pretty much identical in character. The main ingredient that separates "Goodbye" from "Personal Jesus" is a sung interval Kurt Cobain loves to utilize in his songs. The track is a decent one, though an evident rehash of "Personal Jesus". This still isn't enough to degrade the overall score, as I personally am hopeful that Depeche Mode will assume from now on that the audience is finally willing to believe that they can make songs ultra-similar to "Personal Jesus".
The Special Edition of the album comes with a second CD sporting four additional tracks, and I want you to know that those are competently realized declarations, and tend to emerge even more extreme in their tendencies than the vanilla edition is willing to. "Long Time Lie" is particularly dark with its verse, while the chorus offers a momentary respite only to leave you with an aggressive synth tailing to your butt with a sawtooth-jaw at the hook's culmination.
"Happens all the time" is probably the most radical song of the whole album, and is not for the lazy ears. All the featured elements are unsettling, - in a musically interesting way, but the billboard pop listener will run away as a scared little rodent - and Dave Gahan's lamentations about transhumanic transformation certainly crosses the "T"-s and dots the "I"-s. It is understandable that the track is not included on the regular release, because it is more extreme than what the so called masses can comfortably tolerate. Administer truth trauma!
"Always" emphasizes the aforementioned circumstances. The experimentive tendencies go rampant/unalloyed during this track, as the group is not afraid to showcase the face of the casual music they enjoy in the form of instant self-awareness-entertainment. The track is composed of two vastly distinctive premiere segments, one that is unrelentingly dark and gloomy, and one which is more uplifting and assuaging. The contradiction/resistance between these two moods necessarily reveal the forbidden attraction between the two - represented by you, by the way - warranting a particularly interesting listening experience, that once again, falls out of the tolerability - awareness - of the mainstream. Another splendid bonus track, and a real treat for the inquisitive and fervent ear.
"All That's Mine" is yet another song that conforms to the direction of rebellious and delicious non-conformity, and the song, I feel, manages to summon the early era of Depeche Mode via a melodic hook, while the instrumental fabric the track concludes with brings you a galore of finely organized and particularly dark and intriguing sounds you can bath an awareness in.
With Delta Machine, Depeche Mode delivers the music I tend to think you hoped they would, yet not in the sense that they would be interested in rehashing earlier ideas, it is more about the act of casting fresh and relevant lights on the timeless inner surfaces and constructs their music always has revolved around. They simply threading a unique road on which the arrogance and the instant accessibility of the everyday shopping mall cushion-beliefs are secretly laughed upon. The best and hardest you can do for anyone, or, for yourself, is to be honest with them all. Depeche Mode maintains the right to be honest with themselves and with you. Depeche Mode still has it, because they never have lost it. Ten out of ten, and, if you are serious about your musical taste - ha, and ha - then I definitely recommend the Special Edition with the four more radical, darker songs included on it.
Rating : 10/10
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