on 12 August 2012
I am a massive Mark Lanegan fan, and so I bought It's Not How Far... and Broken on the strength of that, as he features heavily on both. When I found that he wasn't going to be on the latest release I decided not to bother buying it, but after reading many excellent reviews of this album I decided to buy it, and I'm so glad I did. I think this is the strongest of the albums I own by Soulsavers (I don't have their debut), being the most consistent. I thought It's Not How Far was great in parts, but patchy, and Broken was mainly brilliant but tailed off towards the end, but this one is consistently strong the whole way through. My favourite song is the opener, a fantastic song, but there are no real duds on the whole thing, and would urge everyone to buy this album.
Ostensibly the new Soulsavers record with guest vocalist Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, "The Light The Dead See" is more, so much more, than Gahan warbling on top of other people's songs in some vanity project to stave off boredom.
Miles away from Depeche Mode's throbbing, maudlin menace, this is an epic, majestic record : bass, drums, guitars, barely a trace of a traditional synthesiser or keyboard rack, Gahan's voice sits elegantly and comfortably over sweeping live strings and dynamic arpeggios. Each song sounds like some kind of hope-in-the-face-disaster anthem. Without any of that cellphones-in-the-air Bruce Springsteen / Bon Jovi stuff.
Gahan has never sung better. Never sung with so much passion, conviction, or with so much meaning. To all intents and purposes, this may be a Soulsavers record on the box, but inside it is a Dave Gahan solo record with a new, and exciting set of collaborators. Particularly on "The Presence of God", and throughout the rest of this, you can imagine that this is Gahan wrestling with the eternal dilemmas we all have - what is my place in the world? As a lover, a father, a fighter, a worker, what role do we have, and do we want that role? - .... because you may not have a choice. Life is, after all, a thing you can't control and must exist within. Finding a peace within that is a power.
"Just Try", after all things, is an exploration of the moment of death. Who else, aside from the bonkers Flaming Lips, would do a song that you might as well call "The Last Thoughts Of a Dying Man As He Watches From Heaven His Own Funeral?".
Coldplay think they do meaning, but really, they are unassuming aspirants, far beyond their grasp, trying to fake depth and thought with their meaningless/nonsense lyrics, like someone who barks at a dog and thinks that they are speaking with it, or a random assortment of Scrabble letters that they think is a sentence. Here, Gahan simply taps into an articulate but uncalculated sincerity of expression : what is it to be old and have a young soul?
There are two types of artists - those who refuse to face the world changing around them, and their aging place within it. And those who see their art as a chart, and life as a journey : where are we now? What are we doing? Why are we here?
"The Light The Dead See" is not just Gahan's finest record outside the band, but one of the best records he has been involved in, full stop. It's not for everyone, nor is it a panacea to the starved and narrow-minded Depeche Mode fan, but it is the kind of record I would be proud to make.
on 21 May 2012
Listening to albums made by Marvin Gaye; Led Zeppelin; Neil Young, can give the listener goosebumps as there are moments of pure emotion: when the voice of the singer and the music collides. "The Light The Dead See" is chock full of those sort of moments. When David Gahan sings about slaying the demons in his head whilst seeking redemption: the end result is highly moving.
This album has less of a rock edge than the last Soulsavers album and this time round the gospel and soul harmonies are very much brought to the fore. It is an album that works very much as a whole. The last three Soulsavers albums have all been good - but - this album is a truly magnificent and stunning piece of work!
on 9 July 2012
Admittedly, I was drawn to this album by Dave Gahan's vocal and lyrical contributions (being a big Depeche Mode fan), although I first encountered Soulsavers when they opened for Depeche Mode on their last tour. Soulsavers and Dave Gahan do come together very well on this album, each putting their own layers into each of the non-instrumental tracks. Dave gives a masterful performance here, particularly on numbers such as "Presence of God", as he seems to pour out all the thoughts in his head. Dave's voice complements the established Soulsavers sound very well, giving the impression they've been working together for many years, prime examples being the gospel-esque "Take Me Back Home", and the leading single "Longest Day". The sound of the album is loud and clear coming through stereo speakers and car speakers alike, so well-produced, too!
To sum up, a very strong and accomplished album indeed - one of the best you will hear in 2012.
on 2 June 2012
This album is lovely. To me it has lots of influences but it wears them lightly and develops its own sound.I was trying to think what it reminded me of as we are prone to do I guess.Its like a soundtrack to an imaginary western in places, also reminiscent of Nick Cave at his laid back, laconic best.Also has hints of Depeche Mode as the singer is Dave Gahan and Ive always been fond of his voice, here it smacks of a life lived to the full.Thats not to say its depressing far from it, its soulful and uplifting.Grown up music, cinematic at times.Im struggling for the metaphors. I just love it..Give it a try, like all great music it repays a few listens and then youre in..Highly recommended.
on 18 June 2012
I can understand why Depeche Mode fans approaching this because of Dave Gahan are underwhelmed. But if they didn't know Soulsavers before, then they're missing the point. I'm not having a dig; I just think maybe they should go find a copy of Soulsavers' much darker and more electronic debut to listen to, and work their way forward again to here. Dave Gahan IS a good choice to mine the same seams as [previous main guest vocalist] Mark Lanegan, albeit using a different tool, (as it were). For me, it's simply evolution. As primarily a rock fan, I always prefer guitars to keyboards, organic real strings to electronica ones, and I'm a sucker for gospel stylings, so all in all, I'm enjoying this album a lot so far.
Having said that, I admit this album isn't perfect. With my analytical critic's head on, I can identify the album's shortcomings and (particularly) its recycling of earlier Soulsavers ideas/music - Take Me Back Home is a BLATANT revisiting of Revival - but you know what? I don't care! As a collective unit, T.L.T.D.S. hangs together well, more so than the otherwise excellent Broken did. None of the songs here outstay their welcome (I do accept that not everyone likes 8min+ crescendo wig-outs like DsD-all-time-fave Some Misunderstanding, which Gone Too Far could have been turned into).
Butbutbut ... have you played Just Try and thought, what IS this reminding me of? It drove me mad for an hour or two before the penny dropped: the verses are a dark-mooded take on Babybird's You're Gorgeous! What with that, and some of the Ian McNabb vocalisms, it may be that my interest is being held on what/who this album ISN'T rather than what it IS, but hey-ho. So far, a solid 7/10 album for me. And I'll tell you something else: when I'm done with this, I'm going to dig out Gahan's Paper Monsters CD for another spin or two.
on 9 November 2014
As a lifetime Depeche Mode fan I have always steered away from the bands solo projects, thinking one without the other doesn't work. But after listening to thier last album, Delta Machine and liking Dave Gahans offerings I decided to get The Light The Dead Sea.
I have played nothing else for the last year. It's just incredible. There's not a track on it that doesn't work and each track will draw you in. There isn't a bum track on it. And it's not been made with DM fans in mide.
This album has been my soundtrack for the last year. And the only reason this didn't have a greater impact is the world has difficulty reconciling Dave Gahan without Martin Gore.