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Issue: June 2009

This is No Retro Act

Sounds of the Universe (Mute/EMI)
Depeche Mode

By Hunter Embry

Depeche Mode helped create and most definitely changed the future of electronic pop music. With its origins reaching deep into the decade before, Depeche Mode hit it big in the late '80s and early '90s with albums like Music For The Masses and the chart topping Songs of Faith and Devotion.

Depeche Mode's latest effort, Sounds of the Universe, keeps the darkly emotional, lyrical content, grooving dance tracks and detailed ballads that the group began to pioneer more than 30 years ago. With the first single, "Wrong," Depeche Mode returns to their "Personal Jesus" sound, with a driving beat, fuzzed keys and serious-toned vocals.

Primary songwriter Martin Gore talks about his inherently wrong life, while adding strange lines like, "I used the wrong make-up with wrong technique" something Gore has seemed to trademark throughout the years.

"Miles Away," which is one of three songs on "Sounds of the Universe" written by vocalist Dave Gahan, showcases the singer's intensely concentrated, crooning vocals over a modern Timbland-sounding beat, buzzing and tweeting synth-sounds and backed by a high-pitched Gore vocal. There are several breaks in which a stained guitar riff rides through and Gahan's vocal purity shines.

Sounds of the Universe proves again that Depeche Mode isn't just a pillar in the electronic rock genre, but an artistic force with a flame that continues to burn bright and steer in new directions as each decade passes - which is even more remarkable in rock 'n' roll.

Get more at depechemode.com.

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