Some of the best albums ever recorded come from groups in midst the strangest of personal circumstances. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ famously sprouted from an ‘unusual’ combination of personal relationships and alleged copious amounts of ‘stimulants’. Abba’s later albums were essentially two singers telling the stories of their relationship break-ups, penned by the two guys that they’d broken up with.
By all accounts (including one in the most recent Mojo magazine) Depeche Mode recorded and toured their ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’ while (how can I put this tactfully) ‘troubled by a number of personal demons’
From the point of the ‘Black Celebration’ onwards, the inspiration for all Depeche Mode albums came from some very dark places. All of which adds together to give the impression that Depeche Mode are a depressing bunch who make downbeat music.
And, of course, nothing could be further from the truth for two extremely good reasons;
1. Their music is always inventive and uplifting
2. Every album is graced with quieter tracks of absolutely searing, painful beauty
The most beautiful tune here is ‘Condemnation’, with its chanted backing vocals. Running this a close second is the tremendous ‘Judas’.
There are also some storming, louder tracks too – ‘I feel you’ (which was a single) has a brilliant, rolling rhythm and the quieter ‘One caress’ sizzles very nicely, thank you.
So, lots of darkness and lots of light, and, as I realised when I played this for the third time in succession today, one of the tapes I’d missed the most while it’s been shut in the loft for all these years!
Label – Mute
Year - 1993