01. Dream On
Ultra kicks off with first single "Barrel of a Gun," an abrasive,
distorted affair that sounds like a reflection on Gahan's dark period, though
Gore, as usual, would deny this. It's atypical of the rest of the album, as
lead-in singles have tended to be for Depeche Mode. The album as a whole is
a surprisingly slow affair, with a sparse, unlayered sound that may partly be
due to main musician Alan Wilder leaving the band. There's some solid Depeche
Mode to be found within the new album. The second single "It's No Good"
is a classic single of the "Enjoy the Silence" school with superb
vocals and the typical irresistable hook. "Useless" employs real guitar,
drums and bass to achieve the least synthesized sound on the album. "Insight"
is a Gore/Gahan duet of sorts, similar to Violator's "Waiting For The Night",
with the added bonus of a superb chorus. Stylistically, Ultra is closest to
1990's Violator, and the band themselves have suggested that it would be a more
logical follow-up than the now apparently accepted unsuccessful deviation into
bombast that was Songs of Faith and Devotion. Depeche Mode are back to playing
to their strengths, however, and this album finds them back on form.
Influences / Similar Artists:
Simple Minds, New Order, Tubeway Army, Cabaret Voltaire