Depeche Mode

X2 Disc 5: Instrumentals (Cinco)

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Whereas the more familiar collections of Depeche Mode's 12" singles are contained within the chronological box sets that recount their entire catalog, this European series concentrates upon what have become the lesser-visited corners of their output. No less than eight discs, available both individually and in two box sets, round up some of the most volatile of the band's remixes and B-sides, to present a face of the band that is often overlooked today. The fifth disc in the series might well be the most astonishing of them all. Their penchant for synths and electronics notwithstanding, Depeche Mode are, after all, known first and foremost as a vocal band. Yet here they are driving across the length of a very well-stuffed CD with nary a human voice in sight, 11 instrumentals that reach back to the Vince Clarke-era "Any Second Now" and forward through such joys as "Agent Orange," "Oberkorn," the gloriously infuriating Laibach-meets-Sisters of Mercy "Fpmip," and on to a beautifully heartbroken "Moonlight Sonata." Few of the band's instrumentals were ever farmed out for remixes -- the two that were, "Christmas Island" and "It Doesn't Matter Two," are both included here, and they are as fascinating as they ought to be. In truth, however, even the slightest of the tracks here is a revelation of some kind, and one only wonders why they have received so little attention over the course of the band's career. Of course, nobody expects a group like Depeche Mode to go all instrumental. But isn't that the beauty of Depeche in the first place? They never do what you expect.

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