Depeche Mode – Delta Machine (Sony Music) CD REVIEW

130315-depeche-modeYOU GET THE feeling that something’s not right from the first note of Depeche Mode’s unlucky 13th.
On the first two tracks, at least the sound design is spiffy. It’s as though they’ve digitally replicated a late ‘70s/early ‘80s electronic sound, but given it the hi-res treatment. It’s glitch-inflected and just like a fidgety insect as it buzzes from speaker to speaker.
Pity about the songs, then, and even more of a pity that they’ve given up on the only thing that makes it interesting by the third track, a turgid little ballad called ‘Secret To The End’.
dmIt’s hard to put your finger on just why this album is so poor. Depeche Mode have always had their detractors, and they’ve always been easy targets for criticism, but the industrial-tinged songs of Black Celebration (1986) through the maxed-out distortion of Songs Of Faith & Devotion (1992) saw the group playing on its strengths in startlingly different ways. And they’ve always had a way with a song. Just not lately, they haven’t.
The songs on Delta Machine are as predictable as mud. Too often, they sound like a Depeche Mode tribute band trying to sound like Depeche Mode trying to sound like Nick Cave, and not pulling it off.
Most of it sounds a lot like what they’ve done before, but the x-factor is missing. The songs sound like fragments of ideas stitched together, and the result is not coherent. Depeche has lost its mode, and its meaning, and just sitting through it is a depressing experience.
Come back Alan Wilder, you’re needed. GARY STEEL
Sound = 3.5/5
Music = 1.5/5

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