Review: Depeche Mode ‘Spirit’

The English group’s 14th album, out March 17 via Columbia, bares resemblance to prior peak efforts. Unfortunately, it similarly stumbles over poorly incorporated political themes.

Going into this Depeche Mode album cycle, my expectations were sky high. Not only was Spirit garnering rave advance reviews, Depeche Mode is the group behind my most loved track of all time (“Enjoy the Silence”). Unfortunately all expectations went right out the window when “Where’s the Revolution” dropped as the project’s lead single.

‘Revolution’ in particular struggles from a mismatch in style; the production is quite stunning and even promising but doesn’t ever properly mesh with the vocals, theme or otherwise.

And much like that awfully constructed single, the rest of Spirit is bloated, painfully obvious and the lyrical equivalent of a landfill; mostly rotting garbage with a few treasures sprinkled throughout.

But I like the way you move
I like the way you move for me tonight
I like the way you move
I like the way you move for me tonight
Alright yeah
All night
Alright now
All night

– from “You Move”

Suffering from a lack of identity, Side A reads as an angry open letter, dripping with unimaginative jabs, overly punchy synths (“Scum”) and grating vocals while Side B reads as an incredibly limp diary, packed with thin instrumentals and watered down, stretched vocals.

Unorganized and all over the place production wise, Spirit leaves listeners with a bad aftertaste. Even after several listens its unclear whether this effort belongs in the bin or on the clearance rack.

Other than one standout track (“So Much Love”), the most positive aspect of this record is that it’s got a bit of bite. Sure it might be unpleasant to listen to at times, but at least it has more spirit than its predecessor.

5.4/10

Depeche ModeElectronic

cdschart • March 16, 2017


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