Depeche Mode
Delta Machine


4.5
superb

Review

by Stephen Gore USER (43 Reviews)
March 18th, 2013 | 118 replies


Release Date: 03/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Just another Depeche Mode album'? No.

Ask any Depeche Mode fan to name their favourite Mode album, and you'll be sure to receive a variety of responses. Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, Black Celebration, Music For The Masses, Ultra... the overarching consensus, however, will be that the Basildon Boys' strongest period was the late 80s/early 90s era. As it happens, this was the time that Alan Wilder came to the fore as the ostensible mastermind behind the production of Mode records; the man who took Gore's lugubrious and naive ditties and forged them into something darkly appealing for misunderstood teenagers everywhere. But then he left the band, and although reviewers quickly scrambled to praise the first album without him (the excellent Ultra) it was clear, over the next decade, that the spectre of Wilder still loomed large. Subsequent albums were said to lack that vital Depeche Mode 'spark'; many devoted fans seemed convinced that only his return to the fold could restore the band to their former glory.

Enter Delta Machine. The title itself is a reference to what they were working towards, namely blues-tinged electronic torch songs. This is at its most obvious on songs like 'Angel', a plodding, ominous thumper that suddenly races into a menacing rant, Dave Gahan's hilariously over-the-top vocals growling over a twanging riff and hard, edgy electronic effects. Guitars are used a little less subtly to emphasise the bluesy vibe on 'Slow' (a lost song written during the days of SOFAD), but you can forgive the cliche when you hear how spectacularly worn, dirty and world-weary the track sounds. They're singing about sex, of course, and it adds a vital pinch of sleaze to the album that was missing off the airy Exciter and the static Sounds of the Universe. Although, if you're just waiting for another creepy effort sang by that weirdo Martin Gore, look no further than 'The Child Inside', a lounge song that plaintively dwells on body parts and graveyards.

Of course, the other vital element to any good Depeche Mode album is a few dark, pulsing electro anthems, and they're here in the form of 'Secret To The End' and 'Should Be Higher', both penned by Gahan. The former is an urgent, passionate song that rises above its clunky lyrics to develop into a future Depeche classic, while the latter is possibly the best song on this high quality album, with truly icy synth stabs scuttling around a pounding beat and Dave's almost demented falsetto on the chorus. 'My Little Universe' is more experimental, Dave's restrained vocals set against a backdrop of sparse bleeps, clicks and shimmers, all nestled amongst lyrics that a Biophilia-era Bjork would be proud of. And, remembering that in their hearts, Depeche are great pop songwriters, they chuck out a couple of catchy throwaways, the strangely flaccid 'Soft Touch/Raw Nerve' and the unashamedly camp, goth/blues stomper, 'Soothe My Soul', complete with awful lyrics and a chorus that's so incredibly catchy it comes very close to irritating.

Perhaps the best thing about Delta Machine is that, unlike many previous efforts, it's completely coherent. The whole thing melds together very nicely indeed; the songs are strong, the production is stellar, the blues theme is explored playfully but never overdone, and the songs are rich in layers that reveal themselves after repeated listens. The album from start to finish is soaked in atmosphere; the ballad and lead single 'Heaven' fair soars out of the speakers, and 'Welcome To My World' and the ominously-titled 'Goodbye' bookend the album very neatly. After 33 years, it's incredible to be able to say that Delta Machine is easily one of the best albums Depeche Mode have ever released, worthy of mention in the same breath as the classics, confident in its own skin and by turns experimental, assured, consistent and remarkably memorable. Alan who?



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user ratings (166)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kaleid
March 18th 2013


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Streaming now on iTunes:

http://search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZContentLink.woa/wa/link?path=DepecheMode


Eloriaz
March 18th 2013


713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So stoked right now! I'll be seeing them live next September in Montreal, I can't wait. I am one of
those fans that hopelessly dream of a "Alan Wilder comeback" but reading what you just wrote, I look
forward to hear how the sounds and the atmosphere are on Delta Machine.

Stay Depeched, Keep Moding!

And great review man =)

Digging: Cern - Under Another Sky

ViperAces
March 18th 2013


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

violater is pretty good, ill check this out

Kaleid
March 18th 2013


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am one of
those fans that hopelessly dream of a "Alan Wilder comeback"


This is the album to finally put paid to that!

bloc
March 18th 2013


34992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn that was fast ;)

And a 4.5? That makes me even more excited to check this out.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

Eloriaz
March 18th 2013


713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Kaleid

How happy I am to know that! ;D

Kaleid
March 18th 2013


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn that was fast ;)


Got a promo copy, and went to a listening party before that. I hope I got across that it's not just new album jitters; it really is THAT good

coneren
March 18th 2013


11111 Comments


sweet

Funeralopolis
March 18th 2013


11749 Comments


so many good leaks today

doldrums, depeche mode, the strokes, kevelertak

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

Eloriaz
March 18th 2013


713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am 4 songs into the album (Welcome to My World + Angel + Heaven + Secret to the End) and I already
love this. If the rest of the album is like it, this might be my favorite Mode since Faith and
Devotion =]

XLucidJesterx
March 18th 2013


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a great album. Also seeing them in september. Definitely has a bluesy vibe through out. Welcome to my world, Alone and Should be higher are early favorites.

PoodleRapist
March 18th 2013


254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some songs in the first half drag a bit to me, but the songs that are good are really fucking good. slow is definitely my first favorite track. great review pos etc

ViperAces
March 18th 2013


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok, found a good dl link, heaven ruled so this will prob be great

coneren
March 18th 2013


11111 Comments


damn youre alive

WhiteNoise
March 18th 2013


3243 Comments


Oh wow this is good!?

Nick Cave, Bowie and now this? Looks like the oldies are smashing it this year!

Willie
Moderator
March 18th 2013


16116 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. I'm going to check the stream. I loved Ultra, but nothing after that.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

bigguytoo9
March 18th 2013


263 Comments


Dug the cd, reviewer got it right. The entire thing flows together very nicely.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2013


6269 Comments


Great review, pos, it should be featured at some point.

Last Depeche Mode I worshipped is Playing The Angel, is the new one just as good?

Digging: Fly Golden Eagle - Quartz Bijou

Kaleid
March 19th 2013


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Better. I know PTA won over a lot of new converts, especially because of how good the singles were, but this is a better album, on the whole.

A thing I've noticed is that everyone who's heard it has different opinions on what the best songs are. Some people are going crazy for Goodbye, others are saying Alone is one of the best songs DM have ever done, and even stranger songs like My Little Universe have been welcomed by fans. A lot of fans are hating the second single, Soothe My Soul, but the critics are loving it. This is all the sign of a very strong album, to me.

ViperAces
March 19th 2013


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very cool review btw, pos'd.
ive heard some songs but it dosent seem better than violator for me atm, still pretty great.



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