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Depeche Mode : Exciter

label: wea / warner bros.
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0

New Wave Perseveres

by: peter naldrett

Right from their synth-based conception, Depeche Mode have been known as experimental, musical innovators and over their 20 year history have matured into a vintage bunch of live and studio performers. Forever pushing back boundaries, their album releases, though few and far between these days, have been memorable occasions and mark their adaption and musical evolution. The latest entry to their extensive catalogue is Exciter, a good album with strong single potential, although ultimately falling a good way short of their recent outings.

The high point of their career, without doubt, was the brilliant Violator, which confirmed Martin Gore as a genius lyricist and yielded their strongest singles, "Enjoy the Silence" and "Personal Jesus." Following that, the obsessional anthems that marked Songs of Faith and Devotion and the western guitars that surprised on Ultra launched a golden Depeche Mode era in which every record offered something new and innovative.

Maybe I have come to expect too much, but Exciter does not deliver the high standards of past albums. The first single, "Dream On," appears to be a hanger on to the Ultra era and is misplaced on Exciter, while there fails to be a theme or a feel to the new album that stands out like a beacon. And, disappointingly, Gore has written his least imaginative lyrics in years, with "Breathe" and several others failing to inspire.

Having said that, there are fantastic moments on Exciter and it is worth getting to know. "I Feel Loved" is a gloriously upbeat pop song while "Dream On" and "The Sweetest Condtion" do hold their own and merit going back for more.

Exciter is a good, strong album, though in the Depeche Mode context it is easy to criticise it because the previous standards have been so high. Even so, it is sure to add to the 50 million albums they have sold since 1981, and be a great pre-cursor to the tour they are due to embark upon later this year.

Disc Details

  • 1. Dream On
  • 2. Shine
  • 3. The Sweetest Condition
  • 4. When the Body Speaks
  • 5. The Dead of Night
  • 6. Lovetheme
  • 7. Freelove
  • 8. Comatose
  • 9. I Feel Loved
  • 10. Breathe
  • 11. Easy Tiger
  • 12. I Am You
  • 13. Goodnight Lovers

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