A Broken Frame is generally viewed as one of the runts of the Depeche litter, sandwiched between the Vince Clarke helmed pop glory of Speak & Spell and the metal banging beauty of Construction Time Again, not quite representing any particular facet of Depeche Mode that anyone would readily be familiar with. I'm quite a fan of A Broken Frame (See review here http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/depeche-mode-broken-frame.html) ; ok it has some poor moments like A Photograph Of You our (shudder) The Meaning of Love but there's some dark loveliness in Leave In Silence and The Sun And The Rainfall, pure pop in See You and pointers to where the band were shortly headed in Satellite and Monument. It's not the horror show many fans make it out to be. Anyway, how could anyone not love the Brian Griffin artwork alone?
Marsheaux obviously agree with me. Long time Depeche fans and huge fans of A Broken Frame itself, the band comprising Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou have released a cover of the entire album which you can hear on Spotify right now. Overall, it's an interesting take on the album. Opener, Leave In Silence is fairly faithful to the original albeit with a bit more of an electro sheen. Their take on My Secret Garden changes the original mood of the song (creepy in places to be honest) making it seem more innocent almost but it doesn't quite match the original's atmosphere. Monument gets a makeover of sorts, a harder edge here replacing the song's original spooky pre Construction Time Again vibe, whilst the cover of the already instrumental Nothing To Fear is decent enough but doesn't have the same first days of synthpop feel that Depeche's does. What was side one in the old days ends with See You which, like Monument, is given a harder edge that maybe doesn't quite suit the song.
Side two of A Broken Frame in its original incarnation is challenging as it features the best (The Sun & The Rainfall) and the worst of the album (A Photograph Of You, The Meaning Of Love) and Marsheaux do a decent job of doing it justice. Satellite is a spookier electro version of DM's first and mercifully only commercial foray into quasi reggae, with whispered vocals and lots of cool noises. They darken down The Meaning Of Love as much as it perhaps possible to do and it's a good effort but no matter what's done to that song, you just can't get the video out of your head. That's not Marsheaux's fault though. Doing a cover of the full album means A Photograph Of You can't be avoided and, like their take on The Meaning Of Love, the band slow things down and try their best to improve the song which I think they ultimately do. The album's oddball penultimate Shouldn't Have Done That is treated fairly faithfully with the band matching the original's strange darkness in their own way but it does loss its way a little towards the end. Finally, we come to The Sun And The Rainfal. This is the great lost Depeche Mode track, tucked away at the end of an unloved album, but one that most fans still wish the band would recognise and hopefully one day, perhaps as a Martin solo slot, play live. Pleasingly, Marsheaux don't tamper with it; instead they update the sounds a little, add a couple of rather lovely backing "agh-ahhs" in the chorus and, overall, they do a really good job.
I enjoyed Marsheaux's take on A Broken Frame. It doesn't match the dark mood of the original's high points but cover versions rarely better the song they are taking on. Covering a whole album was a brave move no doubt and they're to be applauded for it. I think most Depeche Mode fans will enjoy listening to this so go and try it.
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