Review Summary: In 1989 Martin L. Gore, the principal songwriter from Depeche Mode, gave the world his own take on six of his favourite songs. In true synth style, this EP shook my world.
In 1989 Martin L. Gore recorded and released his first solo album, or rather EP. He didn’t want to use any of his own songs, which he felt were meant for Depeche Mode
. Instead he choose six of his own favourite songs and recorded them, using a rough synth style. I got this album (on vinyl) for my 19th birthday back then, and it still gives me shivers whenever I listen to it.
The album starts off gently with Compulsion
. originally recorded by Joe Crown. Martin’s version contains hints of the metal sound that dominated the Depeche Mode
sounds during the mid 80’s. In a way you could say the song was retro, even back then. Starting with a plain piano, the song builds up without ever getting too big to damage the song. Next comes the beautiful In a matter of speaking
. Martin doesn’t add to much to the original, which is very wise since the songs is beautiful as is. The best song on the A-side of the vinyl is The Durutti Column
’s Smile in the crowd
. The song combines tough words with a love exclamation over sparse synths. The vocals from Martin compliment the song very well.
The first song on the B-side, Gone
from the Comsat Angels
, is much more up-tempo and has a good drive. Especially the bridge is haunting, when Martin croons:
You used to be so young
Used to be so young
It was going to take so long
It had almost gone
Following Gone, you get Never turn your back on Mother Earth
. This songs is the most acoustic one on the album and shows the most of DM in the way Martin presents it. His voice uses a much higher range and fits the song smoothly. Strange enough I thought this song was a traditional, but that ‘honour’ goes to Motherless child
. The closer of the album is short and contains very little lyrics. It has a back track that nowadays would be considered very full, but back in the day the song was probably so empty that people were turned off by it. To me, the song is a perfect ending to an almost perfect album. The only thing that could have been better is the fact that the album only contains six songs. Other than that, it is a perfect EP that fits the end of the 80’s fantasticly.