Dave Gahan
Hourglass


3.5
great

Review

by Stephen Gore USER (43 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2007 | 13 replies | 22,392 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An assured sophomore effort from the Depeche Mode front man. Electronic clicks, shimmers and stomps, confessional lyrics…sound familiar?

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Sex. Drugs. Synth n’ Roll. A suicide attempt. Even death (for three minutes). Oh yeah, he’s been there. Whether living it up in the darkest corners of mid-80s Berlin, or swaggering/staggering around LA during his 90s transformation into the Keith Richards of electronica, Dave Gahan has come a long way from his days singing ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ in a peach blouse. His mid-90s attempt to change Depeche Mode’s image by transforming himself into a long-haired rock n’ roll icon unfortunately resulted in some of the worst times of his life, brought on by going to the edge of excess and then taking it just that little bit further. So it’s fair to say that on this, his second solo album, he should have quite a lot to get off his chest. But has he carved out his own identity here, or does he just sound like, well, Depeche Mode?

Happily, it’s a bit of both. His lyrics, vastly improving on the embarrassing naivety of his boringly samey debut Paper Monsters, explore such delightfully desolate themes as lack of faith, sexual depravity, absolution and ageing, as well as musings on life after death and guardian angels. But Dave presents these ideas in a format he’s more comfortable with - the electro-rock song. All not a million miles away from Depeche, but whereas Martin Gore has recently tended to stick to the tried and tested slow-to-mid tempo ditty, Dave is far more prepared to add some extra pace to his tracks, and some confident beats that occasionally overshadow some of the delicate electronica that is ever-present on this album. ‘Deeper And Deeper’ is a great example of this; hollow electro clicks, full-on stomping beats, aggressive, throaty vocals suit this dirty-sounding song of sexual aggression. ‘Use You’s extremely catchy chorus pounds with sleaze and depravity, ‘A Little Lie’s intro is striking for its twisted slams, and gloriously dark lead single ‘Kingdom’ is Depeche Mode according to Gahan, with a slightly Numan-esque synth over the chorus - a good one for the clubs.
But trips into sentimental gushiness are also successful; ‘Saw Something’ starts the album with blank, minimal electronic shimmers, soon developing into a sweeping, romantic chorus, complete with electric guitar squeals from John Frusciante and heartfelt drumming from Christian Eigner. A truly memorable ballad that ticks all the right boxes - vulnerable, melodic, touching, slushy enough to make the girls go all teary-eyed; not quite mushy enough to turn off the guys. Best song on the album.

I need some company, I need you tonight,
You don’t have to talk to me, don’t be polite,
Take my body and soul, I feel so old,
Down
On the ground


The culmination of a rock god’s fall from grace, ’Down’, full of warped minor chords, is hypnotic and world-weary, and ends the album on a powerful note. Essentially, there are few major flaws on Hourglass. There are one or two tracks that fail to snare the listener's attention; ‘Miracles’ has great lyrics about faith, but musically it’s anonymous for the most part. ’Endless’ lives up its name rather too well - pensive, melancholy piano punctuates this vaguely reflective track that repeats itself for too long without going anywhere particularly exciting. And one or two other songs feel like they're unfinished, or not reaching their full potential. But on the whole this is a confident effort, playing up to Dave’s greatest strength: his voice, which continues to get even better with age and is as flexible as ever, alternating between velvet-soft whispers and raw, swaggering rock god dramatics.

Dark. Synthy. Lyrics about drugs and religion. Yes, it’s almost Depeche Mode, but not as we know it. Dave’s developing sense of structure to music and lyrics may still be average compared to the talents of Martin Gore, writer of such songs as ‘Personal Jesus’ and ‘Enjoy The Silence‘, but his strengths over his bandmate are beginning to show in his acute pop sensibilities and willingness to take just a few more risks. Hourglass is an album that lacks Depeche Mode’s melting-pot of talent and expertise but has a far fresher approach to making electro-rock in the 21st century. When Depeche Mode regroup next year to produce another album, Martin might just want to loosen things up a bit.



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Chart.
3.7
great
recommended by reviewer
Depeche Mode Playing The Angel

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
October 22nd 2007



15914 Comments


Great review... I like Depeche Mode's mid and later works, and I never even knew this guy had any solo albums. I'll have to check this out.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Kaleid
October 22nd 2007



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like Depeche Mode's mid and later works, and I never even knew this guy had any solo albums

You've got taste. Black Celebration through to Songs Of Faith And Devotion are DM's best stuff.

Martin's done a couple of covers albums; I'll do them sometime

Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2007



15914 Comments


Martin's done a couple of covers albums; I'll do them sometime
I look forward to it... in the meantime I need to track this one down.

You mentioned that Martin Gore has done some solo work too... is it under his name as well?

Kaleid
October 23rd 2007



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes - he did two albums of covers: Counterfeit and Counterfeit2, he saved his own songs for Depeche. The first is decidedly meh; the second is excellent, he covers songs by everyone from John Lennon to David Bowie

Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2007



15914 Comments


Something else to check out... hey, you got four pos votes... so where's the rest of the conversation???

Kaleid
October 23rd 2007



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's what I was thinking...I've heard of random negging by fanboys without comments...but sporadic pos'ing? How bizarre, how bizarre

kygermo
October 6th 2008



994 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey man good review! Im sure you already know about the press conference DM did earlier today. You must since your new avatar is their new DM logo lol. I was pleasantly surprised with this release, Daves a pretty good writer.

And I also really liked his solo stuff on Playing The angel. Suffer well was amazing!

Kaleid
October 6th 2008



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No flies on you.... yeah, Suffer Well was pretty good, I hope he saves the bulk of his own writings for his own solo stuff though. The reason Depeche have survived for 28 years is largely down to Martin Gore's songwriting - Kingdom's a great track but it's hardly Enjoy The Silence/Personal Jesus

bloc
December 23rd 2010



34780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I think one of the b-sides or something from this is Tomorrow, it's easily one of my all time favourite songs.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Kaleid
January 4th 2011



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tomorrow is cool, I agree, it was the B-side to Kingdom. You often find that with either Depeche's songs or their solo efforts, they really put out some great B-sides that go unnoticed. Amazingly, they haven't released a B-sides compilation yet. There are some really cool Mode songs like Surrender, Newborn, Dangerous and My Joy that hardly anyone knows about. There's also one called Kaleid...

valentinosmoking
August 2nd 2012



15 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great Album of Dave Gahan. I hope that he will continue in this way.

sinsexsodomy
February 16th 2013



221 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow just DLed this a while ago to see if it was good, surprisingly it wasn't too bad, i may get it tomorrow. then again I need to save up Delta Machine and The Next Day are coming out in about a months time and I'm currently not working at either of my jobs. Still its a nice surprise, not as bad as the first release either!

Kaleid
February 17th 2013



711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Urgh yeah, Paper Monsters... I suppose I should review that too.



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