The Upshot: Who is the master, and who is the servant?
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Depeche Mode may not be as prolific as they were in the ‘80s, but they certainly make up for it once they deliver.
Spirit, the band’s follow up to 2013’s Delta Machine, is a loud clarion call to anyone who questioned whether these synth kings were still relevant 30-plus after they started. You have to go back to 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion to find a more consistently flawless record from the band. Lyrically the trio is in top form, especially on a song like “Where’s The Revolution,” tailor made for a post-Brexit, Trump-led world (“You’ve been pissed on for too long/Your rights abused/Your views refused/They manipulate and threaten with terror as a weapon/Scare you till you’re stupefied/Wear you down until you’re on their side”). The anger boils over onto the next track as well. “The Worst Crime” is a little slower tempo, but the sentiment is still front and center (“We’re setting up the truss/Once there were solutions now we have no excuses/They got lost in confusion so we’re preparing the nooses”). Not exactly subtle, but that’s part of the brilliance here. You get lulled in by the hypnotic beat and Dave Gahan slaps you awake with his vocals.
But the band’s not all piss and vinegar here. “Eternal” is a love song in true Depeche Mode fashion (“And when the black cloud rises/And the radiation falls/I will look you in the eye and kiss you”); just a reminder that one of the band’s last great love songs was “Master and Servant,” so “Eternal” fits the Depeche Mode mold.
It’s not ideal that it took electing a wildly dangerous clown and having a country vote in favor of their own economic demise to bring back Depeche Mode. But, they are back and that makes life just a little bit better.
DOWNLOAD: “Where’s The Revolution,” “Cover Me” and “So Much Love”