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Released: 14th May 2001.

Depeche Mode - ExciterThe weird pop band that's been around for as long as I can remember is back with a brand new album. David Gahan & Co say this record felt good to record, as they are all healthy and in one piece again. The question is then, how weird is "Exciter"?

Starting off with the Top 10 single, "Dream On", the album doesn't promise much excitement, as the song is, quite frankly, weak.

The next song, "Shine", brings back the typical Depeche Mode weirdness, with lots of electronic details that go well with David's vocals.

"The Sweetest Condition" is a slower number with a very thin melodic line with notes that drag on. Alice In Chains used to do this, but they were good at it.

A track that stands out is "The Dead Of The Night", an optimistic number according to the band, (obviously, as the title suggests). Electronically transformed guitars, the rage in vocals and God knows what else that's in there create a specific atmosphere - you don't want to listen to that alone at night, believe me. This stuff is simply scary.

"Freelove" and "Lovetheme" are calmer and quieter. Quite nice, actually. "Comatose" with Martin Gore on vocals brings back more complexity, however in all this electronic weirdness you can hear a very strong melody, which makes "Comatose" a definite highlight of the album.

Another track that grabbed my attention was "Breathe" that links to the '50s and as Martin - who also sings lead on it - said, it wouldn't be out of place on a "Twin Peaks" album.

The lyrics are, as ever, above average on both depth and surrealness. Depeche Mode fans shouldn't be disappointed, since the record has more universal appeal than any other Depeche Mode release. It may be a tad too weird for an average Top 40 fan, but who knows. I strongly recommend checking it out for yourself.

* * * (Aneta Janssen)

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