Dave Gahan


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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries

After Dave Gahan released his debut solo album, Paper Monsters, in 2003, he landed three of his songs on Depeche Mode's 2005 album Playing the Angel, meaning Martin Gore was no longer the band's sole songwriter. Two years later and he's on a roll with Hourglass, a more electronic, better built, and altogether better deal than Monsters, thanks mostly to the singer and-don't-you-forget-to-mention songwriter's better sense of self. At least that's the way it feels because unlike Monsters, Hourglass doesn't have any overly urgent need to shake off Depeche Mode comparisons. Instead, it surrounds Gahan's serviceable writing skills with the dark electronic soundscapes he's obviously comfortable with. Just like his tracks on Angel, his co-conspirators here are Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpot, two musicians that are great at creating crunchy, expansive, and cold music. Even if leadoff single "Kingdom" is Depeche's "Never Let Me Down Again" without the keyboard hook, its groove is the same slithery kind of inescapable, and if it could conjure a smell it would be a mix of leather pants, sweat, and cigarettes. The swaggering macho goth stance Gahan perfected right around "Personal Jesus" is also in effect for the highlights "Use You" and "Deeper and Deeper" which is especially helpful for the latter since the lyrics could have come from any given Fergie song ("You can't tell me/That you don't want it" and so on). Cringe-worthy couplets like "Miracle"'s "I don't believe in Jesus/But I'm praying anyway." find Gahan writing in the style of Gore and coming up short, but you've got to admit his vocal delivery is moving, and that goes double for the opening "Saw Something." At the very least the album displays how much Gahan brings to Depeche Mode, and should go a long way in getting the Gore-favoring fan base to admit it. [A CD/DVD of the album was also released.]

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