Artist: Depeche Mode
CD Title: Delta Machine
It all began in 1980 in the UK when a group of young hopeful men dreamt of "fast fashion" and had a plan to conquer the world. Now, 33 years later, they release their long awaited and much anticipated thirteenth studio album called Delta Machine.
Delta Machine sounds like it starts where their 2009 album Sounds of The Universe left off. The best way to describe it is like two halves of a whole. If Sounds of the Universe was day, then Delta Machine would be night. They have a similar quality but in essence they are quite opposite like day and night. It is almost like they took elements of Sounds of the Universe to create the structure for Delta Machine. Sounds of the Universe was much more song oriented, whereas Delta Machine is more experimental electronica. The album, recorded over the last year in Santa Barbara, California and New York City, was produced by Ben Hillier and mixed by Flood.
The men of Depeche Martin and Dave explain the method behind their madness...Martin Gore said , “Writing this album was incredibly daunting as I wanted the sound of this collection to be very modern. I want people to feel good about listening to this record, to get some kind of peace. It’s just got something magical about it.” Dave Gahan added, “With this release we’ve completely shifted our idea of how to create an album. When we hit a wall where we realize the album is beginning to sound too normal, we’ll mess it up and really give it that organic Depeche Mode sound. Delta Machine is no different, and I can’t wait for all of our fans to hear it.”
I must not have gotten the memo that minimal, experimental and ambient electronica was the hot trendy thing. Take for instance the snoozefest by Nick Rhodes ( Duran Duran) and Warren Cuccurullo ( Missing Persons) TV Mania. Though Delta Machine is admittedly more melodic and less experimental and sample driven like TV Mania, it still has that minimal, ambient electronica sound that TV Mania has. If this is the future of music, I'm quite content to stay firmly rooted in the past. It's hard to understand that a band needs to evolve and grow and we as fans should understand that need and evolve and grow with them. However, sometimes it just is a journey not worth taking. Though Delta Machine has it's moments, most of it is like a heavy drip of morphine. You fight to stay awake but it's just not interesting enough to put in the effort. Don't get me wrong, I love Depeche Mode, but their last few albums have proved that they are not going to be bouncing back to their beloved classic style any time soon. I really just don't dig their new vibe. "Heaven," is probably one of the strongest and most classically sung oriented tracks on the album. It was a bit of false advertising to have "Heaven" be the lead single, when most of the album really does not sound anything like it.
Most of the album has a deep buzzing bass that gets annoying and tiring very quickly. New age, ambient electronica seems to dominate the overall feel of Delta Machine. Dave's performance is not up to par, it is disappointing and weak at best. There are only a few songs that remotely resemble the Depeche Mode we have come to know and love over the past thirty three years. "Sooth My Soul" is actually a great song that hints at the classic Depeche Mode sound, but sounds completely out of place in this disastrous train wreck of an album. "Should Be Higher" is also listenable, but nothing special. On the Deluxe edition, or the 2 track single for "Heaven", you will find the awesome track "All That's Mine", which is a nice taste of retro with a contemporary spin. I was hoping that Delta Machine would be more like that. If Delta Machine was comprised of songs like "All That's Mine", "Heaven" and "Soothe My Soul", I think it would have been a great record. Sadly, this is not the case. Depeche Mode has lost their magic in a cesspool of dreary techno mayhem. To hear a few good songs, you have to wade in a pool of dirty smelly muck. In the end, it doesn't seem worth the trouble. Maybe there is something to all this experimental minimalist crap that seems to be in vogue, but I don't get it and quite honestly don't want to get it. It sounds like everything is washed out. Drowned deep in a sea of buzzing synths, dramatic pads, repetitive loops, and what most synth heads would call analogue heaven. I find songs like "My Little Universe" unlistenable and grating on my nerves. I would hate to have to sit through this album live in concert.
Overall, Delta Machine is like a dentist drill without any novocaine. Painful and unnecessary.
Alongside a standard CD format, Depeche Mode will release Delta Machine in an exclusive Deluxe Edition with four additional new tracks and accompanied by a 28 page hardcover book including photos by longtime artistic collaborator Anton Corbijn.
Listen to Depeche Mode - All That's Mine
Buy Delta Machine
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