'Delta Machine' finds long-reigning synthpop outfit Depeche Mode resting on their laurels rather than reinventing the wheel
DEPECHE MODE / DELTA MACHINE
Formed in the early '80s, Depeche Mode are undoubtedly one of most respected pioneers of electronic music.
Fronted by Dave Gahan, the band, now a trio with original members Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher, is the music industry's most successful electronic band, with 100 million albums and singles sold around the world. Their hits such as Strangelove, Enjoy the Silence, Personal Jesus and I Feel You remain seminal classics.
In keeping with their policy of releasing a record every four years, the threesome follow up their last offering, Sounds of the Universe, with Delta Machine, an album that marks their third decade in the business as well as a return to their old sound.
The album opens with Welcome To My World, a bass-driven romp that eventually ushers in Dave Gahan cooing, "Welcome to my world/Leave your tranquilisers at home/You don't need them any more." The song gets more epic during the chorus when the strings start to chime in.
The following track, Angel., features the band's signature blues-tinged electro sound as Gahan sings: "I've found the peace I've been searching for/The angel of love is upon me." Next up is the album's first single, Heaven, which sounds markedly mellow compared to the first two for it rides on a synth-rock melody with lush vocal harmonies in the chorus. Secret To The End then takes us back to the band's more vintage sound, and should sit well with fans of early Depeche Mode.
The mood of the record's second half seems to shift a little with My Little Universe, a techno-inspired track that puts Gahan's vocals against glitchy sounds and a thumping dancefloor-ready beat. "Here I am king/I decide everything/I let no one in, no one," he declares. Then we have Slow and Goodbye, which sound faintly like their previous single I Feel You whereas the dancey Soothe My Soul could easily be a sequel to Personal Jesus. Likewise, Soft Touch/Raw Nerve is rife with exuberant synths and drums as well as Gahan's signature pleading. "Oh brother! Give me a helping hand," he intones.
Overall, Delta Machine builds on the band's already solid musical foundation rather than venturing into unknown territory, which we would have preferred (considering the fact that, once upon of time, they were such visionaries).
The Essex trio bring to the table exactly what they have been rolling out since their inception _ synths, keyboard, guitars and songwriting infused with spirituality. So if you're a die-hard Depeche Mode fan, this album won't disappoint. But if you're hoping to hear something new and refreshing or get inspired, look elsewhere.
Youth Brush/ Raek
Raek (First) is, appropriately enough, the first solo single from one-man band Youth Brush, a side-project of Wissanu "Dui" Likitsathaporn who also fronts and plays guitar for an up and coming indie outfit called Two Million Thanks. Raek features tender guitar strumming coupled with sparse poetic lyrics about unrequited love. Dui has a unique way of singing which may sound to some like he's mumbling (at times slurring) the words and not making much sense. But be that as it may, the song still comes off sounding like a sweet serenade, and could seriously lure us to sleep _ in a good way.
Active Child/ Evening Ceremony
While film adaptions of Stephenie Meyer books can often be cringe worthy, the music featured in the films is anything but. The soundtrack for the Twilight saga has featured big name artists with indie rock leanings like Muse, Bon Iver, Lykke Li, Florence Welch, the Killers and Vampire Weekend. The soundtrack for The Host, the latest film adaptation of a Meyer book, has followed in the footsteps of Twilight with Ellie Goulding, Imagine Dragons and Active Child. The latter serve up a gorgeously ethereal track called Evening Ceremony. Pat Grossi provides us with lush, layered harmonies that go perfectly with Grossi's heaven sent falsetto.
Say Lou Lou/ Julian
We were impressed by Maybe You, the dreamy first single from Swedish-Australian sister duo Say Lou Lou (formerly Saint Lou Lou). Now the Kilbey girls return with yet another swoon worthy number called Julian. Drenched in lush synthesisers and swirling melody, the song rides on the similar down-tempo gorgeousness as their previous single. Elektra and Miranda's vocals are laced with subtle melancholia that complements the song's vibe. "As long as we are moving, yeah I know we'll be alright," the duo sing about making an escape into the night with a boy name Julian.
Jessie Ware/ Imagine It Was Us
After establishing herself as one of the most successful rising female pop stars in the UK last year, Jessie Ware is now readying the release of her critically acclaimed album, Devotion, stateside. Imagine It Was Us, one of the four new tracks included on the US edition, sees Ware inching toward the dancefloor with the slinky house sound courtesy of DJ/producer Julio Bashmore. "Tell me, would you wait all night?/Are you thinking about me Like I do?" she croons during the chorus over the sultry melody.
PJ and Duncan/ Let's Get Ready To Rhumble
Many people may have forgotten that veteran British TV presenter duo Ant and Dec used to dabble in music under the name PJ and Duncan back in the '90s. Well, forget no more, the twosome resurrected their Byker Grove alter egos on a British TV show called Saturday Night Takeaway and performed their 1994 single Let's Get Ready to Rhumble live to an audience of seven million nostalgic fans. As a result, the pop-rap track _ released 19 years ago _ almost instantly landed at the No1 spot in the UK Official Charts after the show aired. It's Ant and Dec's first UK No1.
About the author
Writer: Chanun Poomsawai