Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

A modernised summary of every style the band have worked with
Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

After thirty-two years and thirteen albums, no-one would expect or want any major surprises from ‘Delta Machine’, and thirty seconds or so into the dark ambience and scratchy electronic drama of opener ‘Welcome To My World’ it all feels a little too complex, over-produced and clever for comfort.

As the track suddenly lunges unexpectedly upward into a noisy, clammy euphoria, it becomes clear what Depeche Mode are aiming for with these songs. The album neatly acts as a modernised summary of every style the band have worked with, fusing 1981-vintage drum machines, glitchy synth melodies, industrial distortion and dirty guitar riffs, all framed by lyrics laced with the traditional Mode themes of faith, death, insecurity and control.

The freshness comes through in the delivery, which is as loose as electronic music permits, delivered with the bluesy rawness that frontman Dave Gahan wanted from the album.

‘My Little Universe’ is the most adventurous track here, starting out with toy instruments and concluding as a purring acid-washed techno hybrid, while ‘Soothe My Soul’ provides an improbable sequel to ‘Personal Jesus’. The outlier is ‘Slow’, an authentic at-the-crossroads howling blues number with a stalking, predatory vocal from Gahan that manages to stray a little too close to a bawdy theatricality at times.

The obligatory Martin Gore ballad finds Depeche Mode’s principal songwriter singing about the appearance of body parts on ‘The Child Inside’, taking the darkness that Depeche Mode have frequently flirted with to a harrowing new level.

8/10

Words by MAT SMITH

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