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This review is from: Sounds Of The Universe (Audio CD)
Depeche Mode's twelfth studio album has, as expected, top-notch production and sound quality. But the songs themselves feel like the group is just treading water.
Having said that, there are three tracks written by David Gahan (along with his production buddies Eigner and Phillpott) that tend to have a wilder freedom than the usual Depeche Mode, but I'm not sure they take the group in the right direction. Meanwhile Martin Gore continues to explore the subjects of kinky naivety and of the concept of belief, subjects made plain by song-titles such as `In Chains', `Little Soul', `Jezebel', and `Corrupt'.
I give four stars because I like all the tracks, save for Gahan's `Hole to Feed' (too raw for my liking) and `The Truth Is Miles Away' (ditto), and even Gore's `In Sympathy' tested this listener's patience with its mind-numbing repetitiveness.
But there are no five-star tracks here, and little that is distinctly memorable in this 2009 collection. More instrumentals would be nice, or at least longer songs with instrumental breaks.
In conclusion, reviewer Gareth Grundy writes for most when he says, "It's ... hard to shake the sensation of a band toiling to simply hold itself together, unable to do much more than edge forward."