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Old 23-02-2017, 07:43 PM
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jordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of minejordanismygod : if all you've got to do today is find peace of mind, come round, you can take a piece of mine
Read some mixed reviews so far about the album.
Here's a detailed review from someone.

Spirit is indeed heavy going, their most consistently gloomy, oppressive and non-commercial offering ever. This album should have been titled Delta Machine in all its blues and protest song flavours. Everyone looking for catchy choruses or hooks or beautiful melodies should look elsewhere. Ford's production is thankfully much more determined layered and richer than Hillier's though, the songs feel like they are always going somewhere. Despite the title, uplifting this is not.

1. Going Backwards
Spirit opens with a strong song, which will make a good tour opener. A throbbing electro beat grows more layered and heavier with each minute as Gahan posits the theory that as a species we are indeed going backwards, we are de-evolving. "We're going backwards / Ignoring the realities / Are you counting the casualties", the song opens and gets even bleaker as it goes on. "We feel nothing inside / We have lost our soul", the chorus states as a cool foghorn-style synth riff goes on in the background. Dave's vocals are perhaps lower in the mix than we've gotten used to during the Hillier days. An impressive start.

2. Where's The Revolution
We've all heard this several times. Sadly and shockingly, this is an obvious single from Spirit

3. Worst Crime
A David Lynchian sinister lullaby has Dave lamenting about "misguided leaders" and "uneducated readers". His vocals are soft and the music sounds more tender than the subject matter which is all about a lynching to which we're all invited. "Oh, we had so much time / how could we commit the worst crime" goes the chorus, which sounds more like a bridge to a chorus that never arrives (a common late-DM trait). As so many songs on Spirit, this goes heavier and bluesier as it goes on, with Martin's guitar very much in the foreground. Not bad, but an ominious pick for a track 3.

4. Scum
A clear dubby beat and overbearing bass makes me perk up. "Hey, scum!", Dave intones and after that it's pretty hard to make out what he's going on about, since his vocals are even more distorted than on BOAG. This is pretty much the clubbiest they have been for a while and some nice retro synth blips pop up now and then as Dave berates all of us who are "shallow and hollow". Frankly it's not much of a song and a bit of a mess in general.

5. You Move
Once again a heavy bass and pitter-patter electronic rhythms unite as DM gives us a pretty routine mid-tempo track about nothing much in particular. It's clear that this is a Dave lyric, since it's packed with non-sequitors: the verses are full of cliches ("temptation's knocking at my door", "you talk about the life we should have had", "I don't need your ball and chain") that contradict the chorus that goes "I like the way you move / I like the way you move on me". Semi-melodic synth bleeps add intrigue, but all in all this is b-side material at best.

6. Cover Me
This is thankfully a proper highlight. Lighter in mood than nearly everything else, this starts in a rather beautiful vein and then grows into something of a mini-epic. "I've felt better / I've been up all night / I can feel it coming / The morning light / The air is cold here / It's so hard to breathe" goes the first verse and then the song mutates into something resembling a Duran Duran ballad, which is of course not a bad thing. After the second chorus the beat is pushed into the foreground, it gets more techno and swirling synths build into a nice climax, which makes one wish for a third chorus that never happens. Still: this is a good song.

7. Eternal
The first Martin-sung track. The Uncut quote about this being a "misfiring Marc Almond ballad" rings quite true, because Martin goes for the same over-emoting which has been Marc's trademark for decades. It starts with churchy organs like the demo version of ETS but then gets all arty and pretentious and quite chaotic, and while the listener is waiting for some kind of melody to break though, it all ends rather abruptly. This is after all less than two and half minutes long. "Oh little one, I will protect you / And surround you with my love / as well as any many can", Martin sings and concludes that "you are my eternal". A really curious song, which might make more sense on further listenings. Or perhaps not.

8. Poison Heart
This actually sounds more like Soulsavers featuring DM than a proper Depeche song. A now over-familiar blues stomp brings us a cavalcade of abstarct cliches about poison hearts and pushing someone to the edge. This is probably where the taster sample is from. Once again there are also screechy sounds like somebody is moving heavy furniture next door and scratching the floor while doing it. I haven't really written anything else about this, because I was getting quite disheartened by it all.

9. So Much Love
This is as upbeat as Spirit gets: an urgent rhythm slightly reminiscent of Question Of Time sheds some light on gloomy proceedings. "there's so much love in me", Dave and Martin sing in unison at the end of every verse, which is nice, since up until this Spirit has been all about giving up, lamenting the state of the world and blaming others. Then comes up the chorus, which in typical late-DM fashion sounds undercooked and passive aggressive: "You can forsake me / try to break me / but you can't shake me down / You can despise me / you can demonize me / it satisfies me so", it goes, if I've heard it all correctly. After the chorus some familiar Martin guitar chords break the surface of the melody like ripples in a pond. Quite good -- but as a highlight it's not quite satisfying.

10. Poorman
Electronic opening recalls World In My Eyes, but after 15 seconds we are plunged into the usual blues-electro-gospel morass as overbearing "heee-eee-eee" choral vocals remind me of slave singalongs. "There's no news / poorman's still got the blues / walking out in worn-out shoes / with nothing to lose", goes the lyric which almost resembles a traditional folk song. The chorus is quite unwieldy and up-to-date though: "Corporations get the breaks / keeping almost everything they make / and tell just how long it's going to take / when will it all trickle down?" This is all pretty heavy going and depressing, because unlike with proper protest songs this just sounds hopeless and pissed off. This is how things are and there's nothing we can do to change things. And it's not a particularly strong or interesting song either.

11. No More (This Is The Last Time)
A very uninteresting midtempo take on a relationship that is going nowhere in a pretty much the same way the song is. "You don't mean a thing to me no more", goes the chorus, as if trying to provoke the same reaction in the listener. Even the jolly record company chick had lost her enthusiasm at this point.

12.
Fail
This sounds very much Child In Me propped up with a more energetic beat. A nifty electro rhythm tries to revive the song, which is pretty much Marting giving up on us all and humanity in general. "People, do we call this trying? / We're hopeless, forget the denying / Our souls are ground / Our minds are messed up", he starts like he means to go on: "Our conscience is bankrupt" and "Our standards are sinking" and concluding with "Our spirit has gone". The final words are "We've failed", a really downboat way to end it all -- making the listener also willing to end it all.

So have DM failed? I don't know. But the first listen of Spirit was indeed quite dispiriting. There are good things here, but as a result of four year's work it all sounds quite baffling, low on new sounds and new ideas. The lack of singles seems almost deliberate, perhaps seeing how recent attempts at it have produced dross like Soothe My Soul. Spirit is uncompromising, but more clinically depressed than angry or energized. It's all pretty crushed and crushing. I do wish it will grow on me, but this will definitely be a controversial album among the fanbase.
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