The problem with ponderous electropop is that as soon as the meniscus of self-importance is pricked, it collapses into risibility, as on Depeche Mode's weakest album in some while.
The more melodramatically that David Gahan invites us to have him “penetrate your soul... bleed into your dreams”, the more the sculpted electronic backdrops seem like curtains hiding the puniness of the wizards wielding the machines. It doesn't help that amidst the rasping dubstep and electro-boogie grooves, there are fewer memorable tunes than usual. This is a pretty grim affair, only partly recompensed by the humour in lines like, “There is darkness and death in your eyes/ What have you got buried inside?”.
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