At times, at least for children of the 1980s, listening to Delta Machine is like taking a trip back in time � to when pop stars were larger than life and music was more than just the backdrop to conversations over dinner.
This has less to do with the fact that Depeche Mode have been around for as long as they have, and more to do with their sound, which continues to simultaneously evoke the spirits of John Lee Hooker as well as Kraftwerk.
It’s not as easy as it seems to be, of course. If it were, the band would have had to make way for copycats a couple of decades ago. The key to their longevity lies in tracks such as My Little Universe, almost midway through this, their 13th studio release.
When Dave Gahan sings ‘Beautiful emptiness surrounds me, I take small steps, I’m making progress in a nonspecific way,’ the lyric and its accompanying melody pretty much define the band’s intriguing approach to the pop song.
Soon after comes another track (Slow) prompting a bit of time-travelling. This one sounds like the nineties, when Walking in My Shoes, off their eighth album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, made Depeche Mode such stars on MTV. Martin Gore continues to be the soul of the trio, his presence most clearly felt on tracks like The Child Inside and Alone.
On first listen, Delta Machine sounds like something you’ve heard before. This opinion shifts a little after the third or fourth spin. Do give it a shot though. You owe it to your past, as well as theirs.
— Delta Machine, Depeche Mode, Sony, Rs 399.
Available at leading music stores.