Picks and Pans Review: Depeche Mode

updated 04/27/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/27/2009 01:00AM

Sounds of the Universe |

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ALT-ROCK
Depeche Mode doesn't do much sonic exploration on Sounds of the Universe, the 12th studio album from the synth-pop pioneers. But hey, did you really want them to go country? It's a testament to their stubbornness that, even with all those trendy retro-'80s bands out there, nobody can do a Depeche Mode song like Depeche Mode. And there are some strong ones here, led by first single "Wrong," an industrial-edged stomper with a self-loathing lyric: "There's something wrong with me chemically/ Something wrong with me inherently," sings frontman Dave Gahan, making you feel his pain. Of course, with these brooding Brits, even the disc's most uplifting moment, the dance-floor catharsis of "Peace," comes with a goth sense of foreboding. Peace, it seems, will have to wait.

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