Friday, November 24, 2006

Depeche Mode: Songs of Faith and Devotion 2-disc reissue (Rhino/Mute/Reprise)
original release: 1993, reissue release: October 3, 2006
rating- CD: ** DVD: ****

The pressure was on for Depeche Mode after the hugely successful Violator. With the opening abrasive noise and guitar of "I Feel You," many of us were like, what the fudge is THIS crap? Dave Gahan had grown his hair real long, the band (at least in the video) was playing live instruments and Dave Gahan was just BELTING out the vocals. It took a lot of getting used to. Years later the song can hold up well in concert and does have a certain power. "Walking in My Shoes" was more Violator-like, and the best song on an album from a band that had lost its footing on their direction and songwriting. On "Condemnation" and "Mercy in You" Gahan's vocals had never sounded this unfocused (blame the heroin), while the Martin Gore-sung track "Judas" is nice to hear, but would never be one of their best. What could have been an epic about love and religion is nearly a complete day off for DM. The DVD includes the album in 5.1 Stereo, remixes/non-album tracks and the short film doc. The latter, which is far more interesting than the album itself, explains via interviews with the band and producers why Faith and Devotion was such a wreck and why Alan Wilder quit following the tour. DM as a whole was close to falling apart for good, and they deserve congradulations for getting through this dismal period. -Kenyon

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