Review: Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
Published on March 30th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Yep, Delta Machine sure sounds like a Depeche Mode album. That may very well be what you were hoping for – that’s cool, we’ve no beef with that – but not being long term fans of the band, thereby swerving the kind of skewed perspective that can entail, Rocksucker was a little disappointed to have our expectations so well and truly matched.
“Welcome to my world / Step right through the door / Leave your tranquilisers at home / You don’t need them anymore” is our lyrical introduction on opening track “Welcome to My World”, which could scarcely be more aptly titled: all the band’s key hallmarks are present and correct, from Martin Gore’s dark gurgles of synth through to Dave Gahan’s ever-commanding baritone, and this is at least enough to make for a diverting listen. Amongst the highlights are the vintage B-movie harmonies of “Welcome to My World”, the late-Beatles-y guitar segues of “Heaven” and the delightfully eccentric electronics of “My Little Universe”, on which Gahan sings of “making progress in a non-specific way”. He may well continue to make personal strides, but even his curiously out-of-context blues vocals can’t save the identikit electro of “Angel”.
“Secret to the End” provides a stirring spot of melodrama, “Slow” is steamy and unsettling, but there’s not an awful lot here that inspires us. On some of its best moments, Delta Machine brings to mind David Byrne & St. Vincent’s brilliantly fresh Love This Giant album of last year – at its worst, as on “The Child Inside”, the aforementioned melodrama errs closer to ‘irritating’, while the pedestrian swing of “Soothe My Soul” just feels plain unnecessary.
That the final track is titled “Goodbye” may or may not signal a swansong – that it includes the line “there is no denying how I have been changed” strikes as just a wee bit disingenuous. Whether Depeche Mode are stuck in their ways or playing to their strengths is for you to decide upon for yourself, but there’s just about enough class on Delta Machine to earn it the benefit of the doubt. See you all in four years’ time for the next album.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Delta Machine is out now on Columbia. For more information, please click here to visit Depeche Mode’s official website.