Depeche Mode: Delta Machine (COLUMBIA) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Depeche Mode

Delta Machine

COLUMBIA

Mar 25, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix Bookmark and Share


For a unit that's long been the model of the archetypal studio band, it's no surprise that Depeche Mode's 13th record is another exemplary display of aural wizardry and high production value. Delta Machine is the latest in a long line of records that'll really impress on an expensive stereo system. (The record's faults certainly don't lie with Ben Hillier's production or Flood's mix.) From the dark synth pulses that open "Welcome to My World," all signs point to this being the band at their most dramatic and enticingly mopey.

It starts off promisingly, but then we get to "Angel." Depeche Mode have glossed over Dave Gahan's vocal limitations incredibly well in their three-decade career, but when the cracks shine throughas they do hereit's egregious. Gahan theatrically snarls and croons his way through this song, as if he were doing his best "Tupelo" in a low-rent Bad Seeds tribute band. Whenever his voice fails to maintain their illusion of flawlessness, whole songs tend to crumble down around it; suddenly, the lyrics seem silly and obtuse, the melodies flat, the music too sterile.

Fortunately, Depeche Mode click here slightly more often than not. "Slow" shows off with cool buzzing guitars that circle in the mix like a swarm of bees. Closer "Goodbye" rides on a rollicking guitar lick; the roadhouse stomp and phantom chorus give it an earthy "Personal Jesus" vibe. But as is the case with much of the band's discography, the real money is in the lead single. "Heaven" slow burns with a methodical digital beat and resonating piano chords before Gahan arrives with a Martin Gore lyricaching and vaguely Biblical, as is the customthat's been perfectly tooled to his most tortured vocal register. This is Depeche Mode-by-the-numbers, but it's welcome amongst so much filler. (www.depechemode.com)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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vrusimov
March 25th 2013
7:50pm

Vocal limitations??? Evidently you did not hear the falsetto in Should be Higher or his work with the Soulsavers. The real money ain’t in “Heaven” either and it betrays your perfunctory pronounciations, which upon further inspection seem rather cut and paste in comparison to a few others I won’t bother to mention.

The day they release an album full of predictable, critic-approved hits like Heaven, is the day I’ll no longer listen to them! There is nothing paint-by-numbers about a track like My Little Universe

Chad
July 8th 2013
1:25am

9/10 stars have it Austin.. DM still has the beats and the melodies to wow fans and fill arenas.. don’t underestimate what you might call by-the-numbers…...