A lot more than Depeche Mode's career depends on the success of
the veteran British techno band's 12th studio album, in stores
Tuesday, given lead singer Dave Gahan's lingering deathwish. Last
year, he almost fatally overdosed on cocaine and heroin -- Gahan
actually flatlined for two minutes -- while the year before he
was hospitalized briefly after slashing his wrist in a suicide
It certainly seems morbid that the first single off the new
album was Barrel Of A Gun, with lyrics like: "Everything
that I've done is leading me to conclude I'm not the only one.
Whatever I've done I've been staring down the barrel of a
Whatever the reason, the band -- rounded out by songwriter
Martin Gore and Andy "Fletch" Fletcher -- decided to
regroup with Gahan (just recently out of rehab) and share their
Let's face it, misery often makes for good songwriting and
In this case though, the material, surprise, surprise, is
gloomier and duller than usual. Check out The Love Thieves, It's
No Good (the next single), Useless, Sister Of Night, Freestate
and the cold instrumentals Uselink, Jazz Thieves and Insight.
Better bets are the elegant, Erasure-sounding Home and It's No
Good, the latter of which harkens back to the great Depeche Mode
of old. Ultra is certainly a comedown from Songs Of Faith And
Devotion, the band's last album from 1993, which optimistically
hit No. 1 in America and sold four-and-a-half-million copies.
Could it be that longtime member Alan Wilder, who left the
band after 13 years following the last tour, is the missing glue?
Toronto Sun, April 14th 1997