Playing The Angel





Depeche Mode! The heart flutters at thoughts of the great moments in Mode history: Some Great Reward, People Are People, Black Celebration, Music For The Masses, Violator. But then again, there was the unmitigated disaster of Songs Of Faith & Devotion. So where does Playing The Angel land on the scale of Depeche Mode greatness? Well, it's not any of the former, but it's certainly closer to those than the latter. Those familiar, warm synth tones are prevalent, as is that distinctive David Gahan warble. This is not a groundbreaking work; but considering Depeche Mode is a quarter century(!) into their career, there is not much new that could be expected, short of a Korn-style reinvention or perhaps an excursion into Reggaeton. What is expected is ass-shakingly good synthpop and maybe an anthem or two. And that's exactly what Angel delivers. The album is at its best when harkening back to hits of Depeche Mode past: first single "Precious" is reminiscent of "Enjoy The Silence", "Lillian" brings to mind "Halo", and "John The Revelator" is the closest thing to "Master and Servant" Mode have written in 20 years. That said, "Suffer Well" doesn't instantly remind of any past classic, but the guitar hook and burbling synths set it on a pedestal all its own, as the lasting memory of the record. Playing The Angel is not bound to woo a huge armada of new fans, but at this point, who the hell isn't a Depeche Mode fan? And no, mouth-breathing cretins don't count.

Depeche Mode
Reprise

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Playing The Angel