Depeche Mode

Delta Machine

Written by: HES on 25/04/2013 13:01:05

So I guess Depeche Mode needs no introduction. Or do they? The band has been making music since 1980 which is – in my case – for longer than I have lived. Formed in Basildon, Essex, the band has enjoyed enormous success including 48 singles on the UK chart, and 12 out of their 13 albums have reached the top 10. Depeche Mode has been cited as inspiration by great rock bands like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Linkin Park, Deftones, Coldplay, Rammstein and even Funeral For a Friend – all of this in spite of the band actually being more of an electronic band than a rock band. I guess this kind of gives a rock magazine like an excuse to show interest in this band – the rest of the rock world seems to do so.

Style wise Depeche Mode spans from the 1980’s happy-go-lucky pop-single “Just Can’t Get Enough” to the gloomy “Personal Jesus” – covered by everyone from Marilyn Manson to Johnny Cash. On "Delta Machine" the band is definitely in one of their darker periods. The album is predominantly dark and industrial taking a few influences from the current waves in the electronical landscape, like minimal techno with its snares and pulses - yet with that über-melodic Depeche Mode contrast. The use of “slow-fast” is eminent, in other words the band accomplishes to create a mix of slow and fast without ever being one or the other, all of it bound together by Dave Gahan’s iconic, expressive and heartwrenching vocals.

The album starts with an almost-acapella part with the dystopian “Welcome To My World” only supported by a kick and snare inspired backdrop. Later electronic synths sounding like metallic violins are added, gathering momentum until reaching a crescendo and giving the song a bit more progression by the straight-forward rhythm as Gahan chants “I'll make your visions sing. I'll open endless skies. And ride your broken wings. Welcome to my world.” sounding almost like the second coming of Pink Floyd. “Goodbye” is a bluesy electro-swing with echoes of industrial soundscapes and beats that sound like dystopian, marching footsteps. “Angel” is an angry spoken-word, blues-rock march with synth-accents.

“Slow” is a sexy, slow ballad supported by a sensual acid rock-ish guitar and choir-like supporting vocals. Gahan repeats “slow, slow, slow as slow as you can go” as a female gospel-ish group repeats “that’s how I like it”. It’s refreshing that the band shows a range within the darkness this album seems to be soaked in. Dark is now also sexy. First single off the album “Heaven” is one of the more melodic songs of the album but not at all as melodic as former single “Enjoy the Silence”, however still very much building upon the mood of the “Violator”-album. But “Delta Machine” is more toned down. Instead of having several hooks in one song, the primary melodic focus seems to be on one element only building upon the “minimal”-theme of the backdrop music.

All of this may make it sound like this album is very stripped of the grandiose-ness that was characteristic of the band in the eighties. However, this is not a boring album. It’s rather a much more condensed and grown-up album. It seems this sound started with “Sounds of The Universe”. And now on “Delta Machine” they’ve perfected the Depeche Mode-sound of the new century. It also seems like the collaboration with producer Ben Hillier (who has worked on “Playing The Angel”, “Sounds of The Universe and now “Delta Machine”) brings out the best in the band. I am thoroughly impressed with the depth of this album – surpassing the cliché of gloominess and actually providing something spectacularly emotional – almost poetic.


Download: Slow, Goodbye, Welcome to My World, My Little Universe
For The Fans Of: Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Lunatic Calm
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 22.03.2013

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