This page contain a review of Depeche Mode's new album, 'Playing the Angel', as well as links to where to buy their T-SHIRTS and POSTERS. Also links to WORLD CUP 2006 tickets.



All Music Guide (AMG) reviews PTA

AMG review
All Music Guide (AMG). 4.5 / 5 stars!
Review by Andy Kellman

When Ultra was declared the best Depeche Mode album since Violator,
those who said so must have forgotten about Songs of Faith and Devotion. When
Exciter was declared the best Depeche Mode album since Violator, those
who said so must have also forgotten about Songs of Faith and Devotion, in
addition to having found a roundabout way of saying that it was merely
better than Ultra. There's no doubt this time: Playing the Angel is both
the band's best album since Violator and, more significantly, an album that
is near Violator in stature. The biggest clue dropped by the band prior to
its release was a quote from Dave Gahan, who said that being in Depeche Mode
is better than it has been in 15 years. Some quick math reveals that Gahan
was hinting at the Violator era, a time when the band's creativity and
popularity peaked synchronously. It also turns out that this is a time
as good as any other to be paying attention to the band.

Playing the Angel lacks Songs of Faith and Devotion's end-to-end chest-beating, Ultra's
grinding murk, and Exciter's desiccated patches. It takes the best
qualities from those releases, combines them with a few subtle allusions to
Violator ? tiptoeing the border that separates retread from reinvention ? and
makes for a highly concentrated set of songs that all but demand to be heard in
one uninterrupted shot.

Gahan, still riding the confidence he gained as a songwriter from Paper Monsters, his 2003 solo debut, contributes three songs co-written with band associates Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott.
Though none of them vie to be the album's centerpiece, it's apparent
that the move wasn't a concession of desperation on anyone's part. The
friendly competition seems to have kicked chief songwriter Martin Gore into high
gear; he's in top form. Musically, a lot of analog gear was used, and
it's apparent that the arrangements and extra sounds were less fussed over
than they have been in the recent past. You get the sense that everything
fell into place, as opposed to being forced or aimlessly manipulated. Despite
the favoring of older gear, there's no other year in which any of the songs
could've been made. Like the best Depeche Mode, almost everything on the
album will make an initial wowing impact while remaining layered enough
in subtle details to surprise and thrill with repeated listens. It is not
the kind of album a 25-year-old band is supposed to make.


 







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