Album Reviews

Depeche Mode – Memento Mori – Album Review

Depeche Mode – Memento Mori – Album Review
by Killian Laher

One of the enduring bands from the 1980s is Depeche Mode, now with only two original members after the sad passing of Andy Fletcher.  The band has always avoided the nostalgia train and has now released their first album in six years and their 15th overall.  Significantly, Martin Gore has co-written several songs with Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs, which is the first time in the forty-plus years the band has been around that this has happened.

Fear not, DM-fans, this album sounds just like prime Depeche Mode.  The opener, My Cosmos Is Mine is slightly misleading with its quasi-industrial glitchy beats and a moody-as-hell vocal from Dave Gahan, who is in fine voice throughout this album.  The slinky Wagging Tongue is a fine mid-paced song with plenty of DM swagger and Gore providing support on backing vocals.  Recent single Ghosts Again plods agreeably, one of the most uplifting and… poppiest Depeche Mode songs for some time.  A bit of a change in direction for Don’t Say You Love Me, a lovely, dramatic ballad, full of regret.  The album is impressively produced by James Ford and Marta Salogni.

As usual, Martin Gore gets a solo spotlight, this time on Soul With Me, a show-stopping synth ballad that manages to sound like a modern twist on the early 80s sound.  Caroline’s Monkey, despite being co-written with Butler and featuring somewhat distracting beats, sounds like it could have been on their classic Violator album.  Before We Drown, written by Gahan combines a descending Bowie-esque melody with gorgeous sweeping keyboards.  People Are Good has a familiar title and a familiar, comforting sound as Gahan croons “heaven help me… heaven help us”.

Even late into the album, on penultimate track Never Let Me Go they sound energised and revitalised.  Gahan’s voice, if anything, has improved with age, and he excels on the final track, the doomy and swirly Speak To Me.  At this stage in their career, you can forgive the odd misstep but there are no weak tracks here.  It seems a little crass to point it out, but there’s life left in this band yet.

My Cosmos Is Mine

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