Depeche Mode
Exciter


2.5
average

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2011 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mellow, tranquil, chilled, relaxed - none of these words are likely to spring to mind when you think 'Depeche Mode', yet they’re the only moods you’ll hear on 2001’s 'Exciter'. Arguably the bands least satisfying album so far.

Was 'Exciter' meant to be an ironic title? Because after listening to Depeche Mode’s tenth studio album, it’s difficult to see it as anything other than that, as the 13 more-mellow-than-a-stoner-after-an-all-night-weed-fest tracks do little to excite. The consistent theme of 'Exciter' is mellow, mellow and even more mellow. This wouldn’t be an issue for a band that gained its fan base for delivering silky soft songs like 'When the Body Speaks' or 'Goodnight Lovers' but that’s the problem - Depeche didn’t - they provided dark, layered, moody synth pop that earned them a cult legion of followers.

The album is far from awful though, as if you’re looking for a gentle, feather-soft set of songs to play as serene noise then ‘Exciter’ will surely do the trick; and if Depeche Mode’s mandate in 2001 was to create an album that fits aforementioned description (which it certainly feels like), then they did succeed in that sense.

The main issue is one that lasts from start to finish and first appeared on 'Ultra'. There’s just far too many uber-slow tracks that don’t go anywhere remotely exciting, leaving little in the way of melody or catchy hooks, just airy atmospherics and tranquilly that sound too empty and sparse to hold the average listeners attention for very long.

Having said that, the opening track 'Dream On' deploys a fairly catchy cushion-soft guitar riff and 'The Sweetest Condition' is sure to prick up a few Mode fans ears for its song title alone. It’s a continuation of the 'Violator' track 'The Sweetest Perfection' that dealt with drug addiction - fairly apt then, after lead singer Gahan had not long gone cold turkey. But apart from those two tracks and maybe a very fine spread of others ('Shine', 'Comatose'), it’s honestly hard to find anything memorable enough for 'Exciter' to be completely worthwhile.

Long-gone are the earlier dark days of Depeche Mode when they were a moody quartet producing midnight-black masterpieces like 'Black Celebration' in 1986 or the days of super sharp hooks like heard in 'Personal Jesus'. Even the more recent theme of a grunge rock/electro combo that succeeded in 1993’s 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' is completely absent and instead fans are left with (and its difficult to announce, but every band has to have one) a set of vacant tracks that regress from the bands earlier highs and ultimately amount to, arguably, Depeche Mode’s weakest effort yet. Still, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as 2005’s 'Playing the Angel' was an immensely stronger album that returned to the darkness that fans craved, and unfortunately couldn’t find on 'Exciter'.



Recent reviews by this author
Metronomy Love LettersTemples Sun Structures
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You TomorrowOasis Dig Out Your Soul
Oasis Don't Believe the TruthOasis Heathen Chemistry
user ratings (245)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Stephen Gore (3.5)
The masters of subliminal angst-rock-synthery...chill out (?)...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2011


6206 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

well written and to the point, have a pos.

From this i remember only "Dream On" and "Freelove".

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

bloc
March 3rd 2011


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Totally agreed, this album sucks

iFghtffyrdmns
March 3rd 2011


7047 Comments


you're just all about the depeche mode there aren't ya guy?

Titan50
March 3rd 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Completely unmemorable

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yep, as you can probably tell from my review i dont like this album at all, tbh. Easily the worst DM record in my opinion.

AlexTM510
March 3rd 2011


1403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is my favorite one actually. I really think they work the chill vibe well.

though the only other album ive listened to is violater

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

AlexTM510, if you think this is better than Violator then you must really dig slower tracks. Check out Ultra by Depeche - its probably closer to Exciter than any other DM album. You must be the opposite of me, i don't like this album at all.

AlexTM510
March 3rd 2011


1403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't really compare both. Their both really great records to me, i just dig this slower stuff more.

and yes i will def. check it out thank you

kygermo
March 3rd 2011


996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wouldnt say it sucks, but its not the joint though, either. Pos. Im looking forward to "Playing the Angel".

Kaleid
March 3rd 2011


711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really liked Exciter. It was a departure for them in tems of sound and atmosphere, and it was a refreshing change from the murkiness of their 90s output (superior though those albums were). I'm glad they did it, but I also wouldn't want them to go there again.

Dream On is a great song.

bloc
August 25th 2011


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This is, like, awesome now

Acanthus
November 17th 2013


9543 Comments


Pretty much agree with the rating, love that opening track.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

Log S.
August 29th 2014


43 Comments


it is awesome
it was always awesome
don't know what the DEAL is with people, 'uh?!

it's nothing compared to folx who slight ultra or pta though i guess, lol
just an outright fuck you for them!

marguskiis
September 1st 2014


8 Comments


Good songs but too lightweight producing. Sounds like some hobby solo album ("not a big deal, I just try to be different").

marguskiis
September 1st 2014


8 Comments


The most overrated album of DM when it was issued.

Log S.
September 1st 2014


43 Comments


i think the "general concensus" when it came out was the other way around though
production being exalted and songs excommunicated!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy