Picks and Pans Review: Exciter
Depeche Mode (Mute/Reprise)
Guitars on a Depeche Mode album? In their 1980s heyday, these synthesizer-loving Brits would have scoffed. Times changed, though, and the Essex, England, group weathered plenty, including a decline in the market for moody pop. Now the revived trio sounds more easygoing, exploring a note of optimism on "Dream On," an upbeat number with a bolero beat. But songwriter Martin Gore still writes beautifully sad melodies better than anyone, and singer Dave Gahan delivers them in a genuinely weary-sounding baritone. "Comatose," a ballad, luxuriates in a deep blue sea of electronic orchestrations. Brooding may sell less than bubblegum, but it remains à la Mode.
Bottom Line: Battered popsters pep up a bit
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