Depeche Mode

Dream On

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The idea of hearing a Depeche Mode single start off with acoustic guitar -- and nothing else -- would have seemed an unlikely prospect in earlier years. Martin Gore has regularly performed acoustic and electric on many Depeche songs over the years, though, and the result makes for an atypical and interesting return to music for the band as the lead single from Exciter. The expected technical elements appear mostly in the subtle arrangements, abbreviated drum patterns and loops, and quick bass stabs -- not quite Depeche goes Timbaland, but there's a similar economy at work. David Gahan's supple delivery of the lyric is one of his best, and if "Dream On" isn't as anthemic as other Depeche singles like "Enjoy the Silence" or "It's No Good," it's still a rewarding effort. The single contains a variety of remixes of the lead track -- the first two, by Bushwacka (from the Layo &... partnership), are functional but fairly nondescript. The third, by Dave Clarke, is a far more brute and brusque affair, not quite gabber techno but not all that far off either, and a definite contrast to the original mix on just about all fronts. There's also one total surprise, but an effective one -- another Exciter track, "Easy Tiger," completely remixed and to a large part rerecorded by cult French alt-pop figure Bertrand Burgalat. In his hands, it becomes a smooth, driving piece of early-'70s Euro-funk, heavy on the wah-wah -- perhaps heresy to many fans, but quite entertaining on its own merits.

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