Depeche Mode Signs to Columbia, Leaves EMI

Posted December 11th, 2012 by eric

Depeche Mode has signed a new record deal for its forthcoming album due out in March of next year. Columbia Records will release the as-yet-untitled album, which primary songwriter Martin Gore – in a message on the band’s website – describes as having “similar vibe to Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion.” I’m down with the sounds like Violator part but Songs of Faith and Devotion not so much. When Depeche mode discovered “soul” on SOFAD in 1993 that was the beginning of the band’s patchiest period, which has lasted going on years now. I understand that the band had to grow musically in order to survive, but there comes a point when you’ve created a brand wherein you can only monkey so much with its elements before you frustrate even your most loyal fans. Depeche Mode has tested these waters time and again and pretty much come out the other side with a devoutly loyal fanbase, despite a few rather shaky full-lengths. Its last album, Sound of the Universe, residing at the worst end of that shaky spectrum. I’m always ready to give the band a pass to see if it can pull off a miracle and sound vital again, but the doubt grows with the announcement of every new album. My fears being confirmed with the recent teaser video of some of the new material:

Vocalist Dave Gahan’s classic baritone is a choice weapon, but when he tries too hard to sound soulful things get murky in a hurry. The opposite end of Depeche Mode’s insistence on musical growth would be The Cure’s pandering sameness.  The Cure’s repertoire from Disintegration going backwards is almost untouchable, but, once the band started insulting its audience with boring rewrites, things spiraled down to a nub of disinterest. Now the band is a cartoon karaoke group that puts out a new album every half decade that absolutely no one gives a shit about. Depeche Mode has managed to straddle this line delicately. Here’s to hoping they do not succumb. [via Slicing Up Eyeballs]

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