Friday, May 18, 2001

Depeche Mode - Exciter

A few Depeche Mode fans were left wondering what happened on their last album 1997's Ultra. But as many transitions go (Alan Wilder's departure), some things will change. And when you name your band after a French magazine meaning fast fashion, fashions are fickle and change constantly.

Probably the worst thing you can do before an album comes out is to listen to a bunch of samples online. Which left me entirely unimpressed. Even the first single "Dream On" sounded like "Personal Jesus." But after paying more attention, "Dream On" is a great fusion of acoustic guitar and keyboard programming that matches the dark undertow of the lyrics. "Freelove" is a personal favorite possibly due to the lines 'no hidden catch, no strings attached... just free love.' While "I Am You" is an observation in closeness, "When The Body Speaks" beautifully mesmerizes with a yearning and "The Dead Of Night" is a dark romp through the male libido. Throughout, Dave Gahan's vocals are the best they've ever been. The production is brilliant and writing impressive.

Yes, for an album with a lot of reflection on relationships, it's hard to call this album exciting let alone Exciter. But, it's just a title on a package of great songs. The band has gone back to throwing a few instrumental breaks in but as we all know they are transitions to greater things. And that's where I see Ultra... it was the transition to Exciter for a band that is all about change.

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