Dave Gahan & Soulsavers: Imposter (Columbia) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dave Gahan & Soulsavers



Dec 24, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The relief in Dave Gahan’s voice when he is working with Soulsavers is palpable. Without the weight of his formidable primary band, Depeche Mode, Gahan stretches to a much more vulnerable place with his vocals. And when he’s singing words penned by artists entirely unrelated to him, as he does on their latest album, Imposter, that freedom takes on a whole other level of release.

Imposter is the third album from the Soulsavers project with Gahan, who looks like he’s now a permanent fixture in what used to be a revolving door of guest vocalists. The album is a collection of—bite your tongue—covers. “Reimagined” and “gave new life” are the terms used to describe Gahan & Soulsavers musical partner Rich Machin’s 12 covers on Imposter. These range from Johnny Cash to Cat Power and from PJ Harvey to Neil Young. Like any cover version from any artist, the original speaks to them in such a strong way that they are compelled to reproduce the song, adding their feelings to the mix.

Gahan and Machin did just that along with 10 other musicians at Rick Rubin’s famed Shangri-La Recording Studio in Malibu, California, mere months before the pandemic hit. This group recording in-person—a first for Gahan & Soulsavers, who recorded their two previous albums remotely—has brought out an even more intimate feel to songs that feel almost excruciatingly intense already. Oscillating between hymn-like numbers such as on James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street” and an ethereal take on Cat Power’s “Metal Heart,” billowing symphonics such as on Elmore James’ “I Held My Baby Last Night,” and minimalist ballads such as Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” the through-thread is Gahan’s clear connection with every one of these songs.

In a way, the gravity and commitment to these appropriated songs makes them even more the property of Gahan & Soulsavers than their own original material. Be prepared for your heart to be wrenched out of your chest. (www.davegahan.com)

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