Picks and Pans Review: Songs of Faith and Devotion

updated 04/26/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/26/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode makes doom and gloom with mass appeal, which may explain why the U.K. quartet enjoys a fanatical teen following. DM's darkness merely toys with the sinking, existential morass that the superior Joy Division once explored. The band defangs its sexual and religious themes with tarty synth-pop flourishes. The result? Minor-chord, platinum-selling sound tracks to accompany bad-hair days.

DM's first album in nearly three years is richer in scope than 1990's Violator and expands DM's base with gospel choruses and lashing rock-and-roll noise. But the band's mood ring is proudly black; misery remains its muse. Fans will eat this up. But for the most part, DM leaves you all bummed out with nowhere to go. (Sire/Reprise)

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