DEPECHE MODE – ‘Spirit’ (2017)
27 March 2017
It's only fitting to listen to DEPECHE MODE's latest while all around, not unlike a hail of bullets, rain words and names like Brexit, Trump, Putin, Erdogan, wall, blockade and refugees. Because this is a mature slab of music that is clearly inspired or rather – caused by these very same world news and headlines.
And probably because of all that, 'Spirit’ is clad in black and made of pessimism. But these are by no means new aspects in the DEPECHE MODE artistic entity. After all, they were never the ones to deliver easy listening, party music.
From the very, very pessimistic opener ‘Going Backwards’ you can bet ‘Spirit’ will not be much of a surprise. On the contrary – it is a definite DM release with all of the pros and cons that come with that. It's however very different from ‘Delta Machine’ and has even less to do with ‘Playing the Angel’. In a way, the band has achieved something great and recorded an album that sounds fresh and does not simply repeat anything they already put out since the beginning of the millennium.
It's inevitable though to conclude that ‘Spirit’ would follow the likes of ‘Sounds of the Universe’ and ‘Exciter’ as the band's most underrated albums. Because what we have here has little hit potential and was most probably not meant to have any.
It's darkness, melancholy and self indulgence that are of importance. Apart from the somewhat instantly likable ‘Where’s The Revolution’ most tracks go slow and shine with strange beauty (check out Gahan's ‘Cover Me’ and ‘Poison Heart’) although there do appear more oldschool and even danceable ones like ‘You Move’ and ‘So Much Love’.
It will probably be tough for fans to swallow the fact that ‘Spirit’ speaks of revolutions while not being revolutionary itself. But with album number 14 the captain of this synthpop cruiser – Mr. gore just wanted to put out some good music. And he succeeded in just that. This won't be the new ‘Violator’. It won't even be the new ‘Playing The Angel’. For it wasn't meant to be that at all.
‘Spirit’ is a decent, smart album full of oldschool aeasthetics and modern issues. It doesn' scream for it is created by men in their 50s and not in their teens. It asks the right questions and tackles the right issues.
P.S. Check out the special edition of the album for it contains some delicious mixes of tracks. Not talking about house remixes, of course.