An entertaining, easy to read book about one of the world’s most popular bands, Depeche Mode. It’s an overview of the band’s history, mostly using information already available but with original insights too. The premise is that there were turbulent times when the band could have split, but they have triumphed. The sad news of the death of keyboardist and founding member Andy Fletcher came a couple of months after I read this book. I wonder if the publisher is considering updating it.
The author is obviously a fan, while giving honest opinions of their output. I generally agreed with him, although he diplomatically sidesteps the question that divides the fanbase – was the music better from 1983 – 1995 (the Alan Wilder era) or in the years since then? Or indeed, in the Vince Clarke era (although I doubt anyone really believes the first album was the best). I liked the writing style, which was clear and well-crafted. Occasionally there were some odd phrases to describe the vocals, but that’s music journalism for you.
In summary, this book won’t add much to your Depeche Mode knowledge, but it’s satisfying to see their highs and lows presented so concisely without too much info dumping. If you want more in-depth discussions of the songs, videos, performances, fashion, etc, then you need to look elsewhere. I read the Kindle edition, which does not include photos or tracklists. If you’re a collector of DM stuff then it’s best to get the print edition.
First published by Palazzo, 2019.