Depeche Mode – Spirit
Depeche Mode recently made headlines when the infamous neo-Nazi Richard Spencer branded them the “official band of the alt-right”. Frontman Dave Gahan immediately refuted this, declaring: “He’s a c***. I saw the video of him getting punched. He deserved it”.
An almost equally blunt disavowal of the modern world that promotes men like Spencer can be seen in Spirit, the British electronic band’s latest album, which seems to throb with barely suppressed rage. It opens with Going Backwards, where Gahan sings: “We’re going backwards, ignoring the reality … We are not there yet / We have not evolved”. Where’s the Revolution is even more oblique in its political anger against governments who “manipulate and threaten / With terror as a weapon”. The record ends with Fail and a bleak statement: “Our consciences are bankrupt – we’re f****d”.
It’s pretty heavy-handed stuff, and sometimes the lyrics would perhaps benefit from a little more subtlety. Railing against how “corporations get the breaks / Keeping almost everything they make” seems perhaps slightly ironic from an album made for profit. Cover Me is a beautiful, atmospheric song that seems to hark back to Depeche Mode’s earlier music and it’s a welcome break from the fury of the rest of the tracks. The melancholy Poison Heart is soulful and haunting; Gahan and Gore’s voices have both weakened since the 80s but are still powerful.
James Ford, one half of the electronic music duo Simian Mobile Disco, adds a throbbing urgency to a record that is timely and filled with anger and a need to convey this anger and make some kind of change, or inspire some level of political consciousness in the listener. Ford himself described Spirit at a press playback as “bleak and dystopian”, and perhaps it is – but when Gahan sings earnestly in Where’s the Revolution “the train is coming, the train is coming… get on board” it’s hard not to want a seat.
Spirit is released on 17th March 2017, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Where’s the Revolution here: