on 11 April 2010
I have had this album at my elbo since about '90 to help focus summertime drunken emotional misgivings. If you are prone to forgetting the order in which they dissolve from one year to the next, then this is the Martin Gore Marshalling Masterpiece you need. A soundtrack to accompany the the slow decline of X generation into the false prophets of the Y. A metaphor for DM? I dunno, but the breadth of musical taste and the influence of Martin through this album upon the masters of UK rave, that was yet to dawn surely pays testament to his prematurity.
Get drunk on a summers eve in the garden and relax alone with this... Then wake up and pull yourself back together for Monday doth come....
Brilliant. Now where did I leave my youth....?
on 14 May 2004
Counterfeit was released in 1989 in the hiatus between Mode's Music For The Masses and the triumphant Violator and sounds a little like both. This, of course, was not Martin Gore's first foray into solo artisty: previous Mode albums are peppered with songs that are to all intents and purposes solo Gore efforts (Somebody, The Things You Said, A Question of Lust etc.) but this was the first outing for Martin under his own name.
The songs are all covers (hence the title) and were obviously carefully chosen to show off Martin's expressive voice to its best. The highlights for me are the first three tracks. Compulsion skips along merrily with a sound a little reminiscent of the melodica used in Everything Counts. In A Manner of Speaking is a beautiful song about struggling to find the right thing to say. Smile In The Crowd is a terrific slice of Mode-like misery, but utterly compelling.
Anyone who enjoys Violator era Mode will enjoy this EP.
on 15 November 1999
This is proof that Martin Gore must be the depressing influence on much of Depeche Mode's music. This is not to say it is bad (I gave it 4 stars), it is just depressingly sombre. In the right mood, it's perfect listening. Mr Gore has a great voice which fits well with the style of the compilations. "In a Manner of Speaking" and "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" are great tunes, but I think "Motherless Child" wins out as the star of this album. If you like the Mode, you will definitely go for this album.
Originally released in 1989, this was a solo e.p. of covers that Martin Gore released between '101' and 'Violator' (the peak period for the Mode). It is co-produced with Rico Conning and along with Gore's lead vocals on several 'Black Celebration' songs represent the best of Gore's vocal work.
It opens with 'Compulsion', a wonderful pop affair-"got to move on sometime and it's about time/by putting one foot in front of another"- this is as good as anything released by Depeche Mode. In fact, it has that great pop element- which would become less of a component with subsequent Mode songs (I'm thinking of tunefree dross like 'Useless', 'Only when I lOse Myself' & 'The Dead of Night'!)...Next is 'In a Manner of Speaking'- originally a reggae song and not far from 'Teardrop'-Massive Attack or 'Makes Me Wanna Die'-Tricky. Or the Mode's 'Things You Said'!...The third track is a cover of Durutti Column's 'Smile in the Crowd'- which brings the darkness of Vini Reilly- but with something comprehending a decent vocal. Gore's soulful voice suits this dark,dark song...The Comsat Angels 'Gone' is next- a building synth shimmer, with more classic Mode tinged drama: "You used to be so young/You used to be so young/it was going to take so long/it was almost gone". This is close to the wonderful solo releases, sadly posthumous, by Billy Mackenzie- songs such as 'When the World Was Young' & '14 Mirrors'...The Sparks 'Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth' (from 'Propaganda', also covered by Mackenzie on 'Eurocentric') is next- this is a very faithful cover- complete with that great guitar solo!...The brief e.p. ends on a version of 'Motherless Child', a synthy jazz take that ends all too soon- the refrain of "a long way from home" should be repeated for at least another five minutes!!!...Gore ought to do another e.p. or LP of covers- with the same philosophy behind this one i.e. covering slightly obscure songs- rather than the obviousness that was Simple Minds or Duran Duran's covers albums...The Lenny Cohen cover, 'Coming Back to You', was great- hopefully he'll do another. Suggestions?- 'Raining in Darling' by Bonnie Prince Billy, 'Breakfast' by The Associates, 'Weightless Again' by The Handsome Family, 'See the Sky About to Rain' by Neil Young, 'Makes Me Wanna Die' by Tricky, 'Slow' by My Bloody Valentine, 'A Love Song from Outer Space' by AR Kane, 'Zion Gate' by Horace Andy, 'Still Smiling' by I Start Counting, 'Western Sky' by American Music Club, 'Dirt in the Ground' by Tom Waits, 'Saved' by Swans, 'Hot Burrito 2' by Flying Burrito Bros., 'The True One' by Gene Clark, 'Cable Hogue' by John Cale, 'Independence Day' by Comsat Angels, 'Charlotte' by Young Gods, 'Atmosphere' by Joy Division, 'Stranger than Kindness' by Nick Cave, 'Plants & Rags' by PJ Harvey, 'I'm Set Free' by Velvet Underground, 'A Little Knowledge' by Scritti Politti, 'Sworn & Broken' by Screaming Trees and 'Perfect Circle' by REM. Not that I've thought about it!
Back in 1989 , DM were really firing on all cylinders. sessions for VIOLATOR, 101 on cd, and video/ cinema release and..this.
Obviously martin must have realised he had enough "energy to spare", as what with all the above activity, he also managed to also cram in this fantastic set.
Admittedly I'm not familiar with some of the covers, but even the slightly weak "motherless child" (which sounds like "bedroom electro" even before most people were resourceful enough and probably rich enough in the 80's, to actually knock out a professional product in their bedrooms), does not distract from the beauty of the tracks.
Even with such stripped arangements (and a hint of 80's strings- D50 anyone?), this is class. Recommended for the sheer emotions it can stir...wether you're a DM fan or not