Although Martin Gore had written almost every song in Depeche Mode's catalog since the band's second album, 1982's A Broken Frame, his first solo effort is an EP of remakes. Counterfeit's opening track, a version of Joe Crow's "Compulsion" is a bouncy pop confection that wouldn't sound out of place on 1981's Speak and Spell, but he slows things down for the rest of the album, which includes material previously recorded by Sparks ("Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth") and the Comsat Angels ("Gone"). Gore's voice is heard only in a handful of Depeche tunes like "A Question of Lust" and "People Are People," but he possesses a sweet tenor with more range than that of Depeche Mode frontman David Gahan. Despite the wide variety of sources (the traditional "Motherless Child" is the most surprising cover here), Gore's underwhelming arrangements undermine the material, making Counterfeit sound like an album of demos. Gore was at least able to inject his personality into the music, which is often quite beautiful. While not an essential purchase for the casual listener, Counterfeit is a must for Depeche Mode fans, since it allows the band's true creative mastermind to step up front for a change.
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AllMusic Review by William Cooper