Depeche Mode: Never Let Me Down

Depeche Mode: Never Let Me Down

Basildon’s finest sons return to St. Petersburg for their fifth concert in the city to the delight of local fans.

Published: June 20, 2013 (Issue # 1764)

Mute Records

Depeche Mode will perform songs from their 13th studio album on Monday.

As a part of their Delta Machine Tour, cult band Depeche Mode will take to the stage in St. Petersburg for the fifth time on June 24, to the delight of many local fans.

Depeche Mode is one of the most influential and long-lived bands in the world; or, according to Q Magazine, “one of the greatest British pop groups of all time.” Among the band’s achievements are 33 years of creative activity, 11 honorary awards, global albums sales in excess of 100 million copies and 13 successful studio albums.

Their most recent album, “Delta Machine,” is the reason for the band’s current worldwide concert tour, which kicked off in France on May 4.

Recorded over the last year, “Delta Machine” was produced by Ben Hillier, who also worked with the band on their last two albums, “Playing the Angel” and “Sounds of the Universe,” and mixed by Flood.

The title of the album reflects its specificity, which is the band’s traditional electronic sound (Machine) with the influence of the Delta blues style (Delta).

“I don’t want to claim we’re making a blues album,” said Martin Gore, the band’s songwriter, vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist. “It’s our version of the blues. We’ve been working in our style of blues for quite a long time now. If you go back to ‘Violator’ there’s quite a lot of songs on there that are very bluesy, and ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’ and ‘Ultra’ as well. I think we’re just embracing that now and making it more obvious in the title.”

“The blues influences are definitely there,” agreed David Gahan, the band’s lead vocalist and occasional songwriter. “What connects all the songs is they’re crying out for help. That’s part of the blues as well. It’s kind of whining about your woes but somehow through the music you are redeemed.”

“The machine part of ‘Delta Machine’ is what we do, how we create this, how we use machines. We try and give the elements of songs and songwriting that come from the blues and mess it up. Led Zeppelin took the blues and turned it up, the Stones just made it cooler, and I think that we did our best to f*ck it right up and take it into a difficult direction,” Gahan added.

The album received diametrically opposed reviews from music critics. For example, Entertainment Weekly’s Kyle Anderson hailed Delta Machine as “the strongest album the group has put out this century, ” and Benjamin Boles of Now considered it to be “the best album of [Depeche Mode’s] career.” Andy Gill of The Independent, however, named Delta Machine the band’s “weakest album in some while.”

Generally, the number of positive reviews exceeds the negative ones. The review aggregate website Metacritic rates the album at 67 percent based on 32 reviews from mainstream critics.

The numerous St. Petersburg fans who are looking forward to the concert don’t have to be concerned with critics’ opinions: Depeche Mode is expected to play classic hits in addition to new singles.

The iconic band has been much-loved by Russians since the 80s and has consistently filled concert venues since its first visit in the country in 1998. In 2007, Jeremy Deller and Nicholas Abrahams made the film “Our Hobby is Depeche Mode,” also known as “The Posters Came from the Walls,” which is dedicated to Depeche Mode fans from all around the world. In interviews with fans in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Depeche Mode’s music is a symbol of freedom: For many Russians, its introduction and ensuing popularity coincided with the fall of the Soviet Union. Over the years the band’s popularity in Russia has only increased, and does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.

The last time the band played in St. Petersburg was in 2010, to support their twelfth studio album, “Sounds of the Universe.”

Depeche Mode will perform on Monday, June 24 at the Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 8 Prospekt Yuriya Gagarina, M: Park Pobedy. Tel. 388-21-64.

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