Monday, October 29, 2007

Deplete Mode

Depeche Mode has experienced more trials and tribulations than most bands. The surprise departure of keyboardist Alan Wilder. Vocalist Dave Gahan's heroin addiction and near-death overdose. And, most of all, songwriter Martin Gore's pechant for vamping on stage in mohawk headgear, S&M leather, suspenders, and a pair of angel wings that look daft even on half-naked Victoria's Secret models.

For all that, they've made some pretty terrific music -- except for lately. The band's last good album was "Ultra," and that was 10 years ago. The albums since then, "Exciter" and "Playing the Angel," have each boasted just one or two good tunes. On the plus side of that ledger, Gahan has become a more soulful vocalist over those two records -- a post-addiction clarity. So I was hoping that he'd been hoarding all the best tunes for his own second solo album, "Hourglass." Sadly, that's hardly the case (my review, here). But I'm rooting for the boys when they return with a new record in 2008. Because they were doing what The Killers do when Brandon Flowers was still in his pram. And they do it better.

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