Depeche Mode Playing The Angel on 180g 2LP
Initially rooted in the U.K.’s New Romantic movement, modern rock icons Depeche Mode first formed in 1980 with founding partners Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Vince Clarke, and Andrew Fletcher. Their pioneering, synthesizer-based sound became a global phenomenon that made them wildly successful electro-pop superstars who loomed as large as cult heroes as they did as commercial heavies. With an originality of vision that’s only grown over time, the band’s wealth of singles and signature tracks ranges from bold dance grooves to atmospheric alt-pop to dramatic, industrial flavored masterpieces.
An astonishingly fresh, exuberant release, 2005's Playing The Angel marked Depeche Mode's 25th anniversary together. "Precious," the first single from the album, is quintessential Depeche Mode, all cyber pulse and glorious chorus. "The Sinner In Me" perfectly balances the organic and synthetic, and climaxes, as do most of the tracks here, with staccato blasts of noise and FX. On "Suffer Well" Dave's voice is more powerful than ever, as it is throughout the album. "Macrovision," sung by Martin, is supremely shiny hi-tech pop with an enormous hook. The awesome "John The Revelator" is just one of the four hit singles from the album.
Playing The Angel is faster-paced than Ultra or Exciter, which only heightens the sense of urgency and vibrancy. Ben Hillier's fondness for analogue synths over digital ones also helped shape the sound, one that the band could identify with, harking back as it does to Black Celebration or Violator. The other major difference is that this is the first album to feature Gahan composition credits - three of the tracks ("I Want It All," "Suffer Well" and "Nothing's Impossible") were written by the singer, who was encouraged by the reaction to Paper Monsters and determined to make his mark. Martin was responsible for the remaining nine tracks. As usual, he was unflinching in his depiction of the dark side of the human condition. The titles and lyrics speak for themselves, with their near-biblical references to suffering and sinning, anger and pain. Gatefold 180 gram vinyl with insert and liner notes.
"I think it was a really important record for the band - not necessarily because it had the big hits on it. Playing the Angel was the first record they worked on with Ben Hillier, who’s subsequently done the last three records with them, and that has proved a really productive experience - for Martin, and for me. With Martin, some of the best things he’s done come when he’s pushed - things like the guitar riff in “Enjoy the Silence” came at the last minute. I wanted someone in the studio to push him, to get the very best out of him, and I think Ben has done and has continued to do a great job with that." - Producer/Founder of Mute Records, Daniel Miller
Depeche Mode Playing The Angel Track Listing:
1. A Pain That I'm Used To
2. John The Revelator
3. Suffer Well
4. The Sinner In Me
1. I Want It All
2. Nothing's Impossible
4. Damaged People
6. The Darkest Star