Album: Dave Gahan

Hourglass (Mute)
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The Independent Culture

For his second solo album, Dave Gahan moves away from the guitar-led style of Paper Monsters to an electropop format more in keeping with his day job as front man of Depeche Mode. His collaborators here, Christian Eigner and Andrew Philpott, are members of the Mode's touring band, which only blurs the divide further.

With the mechanical pulses and fizzing undulations of synthesiser that drive tracks such as "Saw Something" and the single "Kingdom", fronted in such loftily mysterious, broodingly romantic manner by Gahan, Hourglass is a Mode LP in all but name. And not a bad one: on the more daring tracks like "Use You" and "Deeper and Deeper", the rhythmic growls and gargling synth figures are about as close to abstract musique concrete sounds as pop is likely to get, while the singer's ruminations on sexuality, age – and possibly drugs, if I read " Use You" correctly – are well meant, if superficial. Religious ponderings are numerous, Gahan's brush with death perhaps having brought him to the brink of philosophy. It gets to us all in time.

Download this: 'Kingdom', 'Saw Something', 'Deeper and Deeper'