Depeche Mode - Spirit
The idea that in 2017 Depeche Mode would be releasing their 14th studio album seems almost impossible. You would think by this time phoning it in would be the default mode for the band, but Spirit is just as inspired, if not more so than anything they have ever done. On this album Depeche Mode don't try to recreate whatever success they had in the 80s, or even try to recreate their sound, instead they push forward and offer exactly what their music should sound like if they kept evolving. The futuristic bend is evident on the first track, but really comes in to focus on "Where's the Revolution". The sound is so refined pulling every ounce of power they can find in the synths and crafting this really haunting and anxious track. Depeche Mode's ability to encompass the anxiety that is our current political situation is fascinating because they have very distinct political ideas but do not allows those messages to over power the point of the song. This is one of the first times Depeche Mode have gotten highly political on an album due in large part to Richard Spencer, the neo-nazi with the highly punchable face, claimed that Depeche Mode were the official band of the "alt-right". Whether it was just good timing or a direct response to Spencer and his ilk Spirit makes very clear just what Depeche Mode think of the alt-right, spoiler alert: they fucking hate them.
Yet, Spirit is more than just a political statement because the music really works. It's incredibly vibey creating this almost swirl of electronics around you. Depeche Mode's most popular tracks were always vague and somewhat bright and while Spirit is not super specific in terms of song writing it is far darker than much of what Depeche Mode have done before. Their brand of rage is so understated, just kind of boiling under the surface perhaps erupting eventually but maybe not. It is that inner rage that you get all over this record. It feels like they want to scream these lyrics, but allowing them to simmer is so much more satisfying. There are times where the lyrics may come off as a bit clunky on Spirit, yet that is kind of what gives it it's charm. Depeche Mode have never been known for saying the exact right thing at the exact right time. What this album really shows is that Depeche Mode are still doing the work and not just cranking out albums to sell out another tour. Spirit works on many different levels and really is one Depeche Mode's records to date, don't sleep.
8.8 out of 10