Depeche Mode: Spirit

Score: 6/10 – The end of the world as we know it.
The 14th studio album from Essex synthpop outfit Depeche Mode is unsurprisingly a pretty gloomy affair, but unlike their previous work, Spirit takes a step away from the inner turmoil of Messrs.’ Gahan, Gore and Fletcher to address the wider issue of impending global doom. “We’re f**ked” summarizes Gahan on album closer “Fail”; a bleak final thought on an album that is not exactly full of the joys of spring.
Make no mistake, there are no skies of blue or trees of green here – instead the unavoidable notion that mankind has done a bang up job of turning our lovely planet into a seething mess of environmental disasters and political evils. Society is rotten to the core, and worse still is the charge that no one seems to care about any of this – we’re all too busy checking our social media feeds and massacring zombies on the latest PlayStation gore-fest. “We’re going backwards/Armed with new technology/Going backwards/To a caveman mentality” Gahan laments on the opening track: “We feel nothing inside” he adds. ‘The Worst Crime’ and ‘Where’s the Revolution’ further indict our collective apathy: “Come on, people/You’re letting me down” he sings, bitterly.
The only respite comes on a handful of tracks including groovy standout ‘No More (The Last Time)’ and ‘You Move’, where the politics are replaced by more personal themes. Musically, the latter still simmers darkly over the story of a broken relationship, but at least the world isn’t ending for a change: “You talk to me about the life we could’ve had/Oh, we don’t have that life no more/ But I like the way you move for me tonight”.
Spirit is no easy listen, but in highlighting humanity’s biggest issues it is undoubtedly an essential one.
Dan Ashcroft
Like this? Try these:

City Calm Down – In A Restless House
Melbourne four-piece rediscover Joy Division

Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters
Assured debut from DepMo frontman.

Editors – In This Light and On This Evening
Anthemic darkness from gloomy Stafford trio.

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