Steel Notes Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 53

Steel Notes Magazine ' t i r i p ode, 'S M e h c e Dep New It’s not like Depeche Mode hasn’t been political before. Back when the British band was winning over teenage hearts in Reagan’s America and Thatcher’s England, their early ’80s pronouncements about “the grabbing hands grab all they can” and “people are people” crystallized rebellious thinking into well-crafted, irresistible pop songs. But now, decades later, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher are far more direct in their cultural objections on a new album, “Spirit,” and in a way that’s often more lecturing than universally uplifting. ott w by Sc ie v e r A , or 2017 Album F Saxon fully formed. “Who’s making your decisions? You or your reli- gion?” taunts Gahan in the first single, “Where’s the Revolution.” Sure, it’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek than the thunderous rhetoric would suggest, with a chorus of “Come on, people, you’re letting me down.” It still comes across as heavy-handed, though, as does “The Worst Crime,” which opens with “There’s a lynching in the square, you will have to join us." Rating: 3 1/2 Star of 5 Worthy Purchase for Fans There are moments of greatness here, starting with the intense “So Much Love,” built on frustration and a musical backdrop that sounds like the beefier cousin of “A Question of Time,” and “Poi- son Heart,” where Gahan seemingly channels Amy Winehouse. The groovy “You Move,” which opens with a synth riff that feels reminiscent of Prince, shows how Depeche Mode is an unexpect- ed influence on trap music, while the stark ballads “Cover Me” and “Eternal” have an icy beauty. But global politics informed “Spirit” and the responses don’t seem Steel Notes Magazine 53