In a strange flirtation with destiny, Depeche Mode had agreed that their new album would be titled ‘memento die’ when a tragic event came to give more meaning to the move: on May 22, 2022, Andy Fletcher, original member of the group, passed away suddenly, at age 60, due to an aortic dissection. The trio thus became a duo, but that did not stop him from going ahead and delivering now a remarkable work on which the figure of the scythe floatsnot so much for recreation but with vivid veracity.
Although Fletcher represented, with his stop of keyboards, the technological sustenance and the sonic restlessness of the ‘depeche’ architecture, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have managed to fill the void by pulling in other accomplices (the well-known James Fordthe debutante Marta Salogni). The result is a highly identifiable album in which they have managed to convey warmth through industrial texture. “Remember that you will die”, that’s what the title says in Latin, it’s the phrase that the servant dispensed to the Roman general so that he would be aware of the limits of his greatness, although the album is not so much about smacking its lips in funeral aesthetics with a spirit gothic, but hasten the transience of the days.
dispelling the ghosts
Humility can be perceived between the lines, but above all a drive for intimacy and a spirit of search within yourself for strength and serenity. This is where the portico of the album goes, ‘My cosmos is mine’, a sort of shady waltz managed by a deep-voiced Gahan, dispelling the ghosts (war, fear, rain, pain) on a mechanical monotone base. The essences of Depeche Mode awaken to play ‘Wagging tongue’, with its tension between a majestic melody and a background heir to krautrock, and the imperative ‘Ghost again’theme lighting weeks ago and that turns out to be the group’s most celebrated ‘single’ so far this century.
The credits of this piece present the (unprecedented) co-authorship of Richard Butler, the singer of Psychedelic Furs, and the alliance can be guessed fruitful looking at the other three songs with his signature: ‘Don’t say you love me’, a spectral blues that would make Scott Walker happy, the robotic ‘My favorite stranger’ and the dynamic hook of ‘Caroline’s monkey’. And Gore shines, as a songwriter and singer, in ‘Soul with me’, like a ‘crooner’ spotting the twilight of days: “I’m ready for the final pages / I kiss my earthly cages goodbye / I climb the golden stairs&rdquor ;.
Material that, braided with the imperative ‘dark’ touch with Kraftwerk alchemy of ‘People are good’, the seclusion of ‘Always you’ or the rising ‘tempo’, to dance while meditating, of ‘Never let me go’, allow Depeche Mode face this tour that will bring them to Primavera Sound with their spirits restored and their heads held high. Jordi Bianciotto
Other albums of the week
The new installment of the most consistent and prolific project of Glenn Donaldson It takes as its plot the attempt to make the impulse to make music compatible with the need to earn a living. That premise makes it a somewhat more serious album than its predecessorsbut the beneficent influence of 80s and 90s indie pop (The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Sarah Records) guarantees the requisite dose of sunny chords and gorgeous melodies. Rafael Tapounet
Karin Dreijer, a creature from outer space, resumes his artistic alias thanks to his brother Olof (who was his accomplice in the Swedish duo The Knife). Fever Ray revives his synthetic imaginary with a human face at the expense of jungle ‘beats’ and sinuous turns, angry singing and adventurous melodic scribbles. A work of contrasts, enigmatic but accessible, with darkness and a loving impulse, in which Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails). J.B.
Fresh Sound New Talent
It takes a while to catch on, but when the third piece arrives, ‘Don’t mention the war’, the game of drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, pianist Ethan Iverson and double bassist Michael Formanek fully unfolds: clarity of ideas -postmodern ideas, yes-, melodies that win you over at first but are much more complex than it seems and a very healthy dose of ironic distance to be able to say exciting things without corniness. ‘Saturday’ passes like a breath but leaves behind. Roger Rock