Depeche Mode Lift Angel - Rolling Stone
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Depeche Mode Lift Angel

Synth-pop pioneers return with fourteenth album

Depeche Mode will mark their twenty-fifth year together with the release of their fourteenth album, Playing the Angel, in October. “We can be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year,” guitarist Andy Fletcher says with a grin.

Produced by Ben Hiller (Blur, Doves), the record features the band’s classic blend of moody synth-pop beats, heavy guitar riffs and dark lyrics. “There’s a really strong DNA in our band,” says Fletcher. “We almost can’t help sounding like ourselves — which is a good thing.”

“We were in the studio,” recalls frontman Dave Gahan, “and [Mute Records head] Daniel Miller came in and said, ‘Oh, what’s this album about then, the usual pain and suffering?’ That’s kind of our m.o.”

On Playing the Angel, Gahan — who released his debut solo album, Paper Monsters, in 2003 — shares songwriting credits for the first time, territory traditionally reserved for keyboardist Martin Gore. “I was like, ‘I’m not interested in doing this album unless I get to write songs,'” Gahan says. “So Martin and I talked about it. I think it caused a bit of competition in the band, which is healthy.” Three of Gahan’s songs will be included on the album.

Among his contributions is the ballad “Precious.” “It’s about what’s important,” says Gahan, who famously battled with drugs and depression in the past, “and seeing life through the eyes of my children.”

Depeche Mode will launch a world tour in support of Playing the Angel in October.


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