Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

POP MUSIC REVIEW

Beyond Depeche Mode

Solo debut from DM's principal songwriter is a collection of other writers' songs.

May 08, 2003|Natalie Nichols | Special to The Times

Depeche Mode co-founder Martin L. Gore has been the band's principal songwriter since Vince Clarke left in 1981, so it's somewhat ironic that his solo debut album is a collection of other writers' songs, even if they are atmospherically reinvented.

The keyboardist-guitarist performed an eclectic selection from the album, "Counterfeit2," during his show at the Mayan Theatre on Tuesday, but the 90-minute set also featured lots of music for the masses -- that is, for the masses who love the pioneering electro-pop of DM.

The setting on this first of two scheduled consecutive nights was more intimate and simpler than a typical Depeche Mode spectacle. Backed by keyboardist Peter Gordeno and DJ and guitarist Andrew Phillpott, Gore (who sings only occasionally in Depeche Mode) crooned and occasionally played guitar, often addressed the audience, smiled and danced eccentrically. Engaging as he was, the inclusion of so many DM songs made things tedious for anyone intrigued by his solo album but not enamored of the group.

Such numbers from the album as Blind Willie Johnson's "In My Time of Dying," David Essex's "Stardust" and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' "Loverman" blended elements of glam, blues, gospel and techno, thematically complementing the DM tunes' themes of love and obsession, personal travails and seeking physical comfort along with emotional solace.

The presentation did remind listeners of Gore's role in making his group so popular and influential. His takes on such DM numbers as "Walking in My Shoes," "Shake the Disease" and "A Question of Lust" made them feel more human than the popular versions, with sweeter vocals and stripped-down instrumentation underscoring the fragile emotional core inside the band's sonic machinery.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|