Picks and Pans Review: People Are People

updated 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Depeche Mode

The emerging generation of technopop musicians must have been nursed on frozen formula and become jaded before they escaped the crib. How else to explain this quartet from Basildon, England, made up of young men barely out of their teens, creating music that is more nonemotional than the most avant-garde jazz? Depeche Mode, comprised of vocalist David Gahan and synthesizer players Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and Alan Wilder, may challenge Duran Duran as a pretty-boy poster group, but they lack Duran's fire in the gut. People Are People is composed of music recorded over the past three years, though it does not contain their biggest hits in the U.K.—Dreaming of Me, Just Can't Get Enough and The Meaning of Love. The best songs on this offering, Love in Itself, Everything Counts and the title cut, succeed because of alluring melodic hooks. As far as passion or soul, however, even these aren't much. The group's name, Depeche Mode, was lifted from a French magazine and translates more or less as "fast fashion." That image is all too close to the superficial music the quartet produces. (Mute/ Sire/ WB)

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