Album Review: Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe


Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe (Image courtesy of Mute Records)

Sounds Of The Universe is the 12th studio album from synth pioneers Depeche Mode — their best since 1990's Violator. The theme throughout the album is very dark, and while that isn't necessarily new ground for these guys, I feel like this record is coming at the end of a relationship gone bad. Don't get me wrong: there certainly is an ebb and flow of positive messages hidden within the darkness. It's like a declaration of independence after being held back, emotionally damaged and physically tortured.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Depeche Mode album if there wasn't a dance-y tune, such as this release's "Little Soul." The most uplifting song on the record, "Peace," is a Gore and Gahan duet, which sounds like it was meant to accompany a meditation with the trance-like affirmation: "Peace will come to me." If this record were a journey that ended with this song, it could be considered a happy ending. But that doesn't happen here. "Peace" is smack-dab in the middle of the record, which leads to another bump in the flow.

The song that has me hitting the repeat button is the very first track, "In Chains." I don't know if it's the way the song's intro builds like the sound check at a Billy Thorpe concert, or the longing of the lyrics, I just can't get enough! (Pun certainly intended.)

If you're at the end of a relationship, and you're ready to move on, this is just the aural therapy that the doctor ordered.