Dark, Moody, Evocative find Delta Machine a study in self discovery.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Had you told me a year ago that I would be moving out of my comfort zone of improvisational music into the more tangible realm of contemporary pop music, I would have said you were mad. If you had told me that I would be listening to Depeche Mode and finding enjoyment then I would have suggested a drug test. Delta Machine is not without the edgy calling card that is Depeche Mode. What is missing from Delta Machine is the pretentious self indulgent angst of impending doom that came close to killing the band if not some of the members.
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. To survive and maintain any sort of commercial viability without becoming an artistic sell out, a band must evolve on some level. A new producer in Ben Hillier brings back the organic roots of Depeche Mode that embrace a more techno based grove while still while looking into life's creative abysses. Currently fans are split down the middle so consider this. One p.o.v. compares Delta Machine with earlier recordings as "not as good as..." O.K. were you as good as you were ten years ago or have you changed and evolved to a higher state of being? See my point? While most older Depeche Mode fans finally cave and admit that the release does have significant merits it may well be the warts and all approach of making this record that makes the little imperfections the key selling points into why the release is worth your time and hard earned money. Depeche Mode is all grown up. Deal with it.
The electronic base of the band seems to have been finally mastered and tweaked to allow for a more textured and accessible approach to their music without sacrificing their artistic soul. Bands that have not evolved in a similar fashion can be found on VH-1's Where Are They Now Series. New fans and younger audiences should find a deliciously subtle level of promise with this release, older fans will come around. Much like free improvisational jazz, this music is an acquired taste for some. Depeche Mode is still offering music with meat on its bones, now it simply has better flavor.
Depeche Mode is Andy Fletcher; Dave Gahan; and Martin Gore.