Once the Delta Machine stopped moving around the world's stadiums and arenas, Depeche Mode commenced their usual post tour hibernation, prompting speculation about what solo efforts we'd see before the next Mode project (as the band seem to call them these days) popped up. Martin's ventures into tech continued with the superb MG, Fletch looked out his records for some DJ gigs and, after a few teasers on Instagram, it was announced that Dave would once again be collaborating with Soulsavers. The result is the new Dave Gahan & Soulsavers album Angels & Ghosts and, whilst it doesn't make a great leap forward at all from the last Soulsavers album (note - Dave's name was absent then), it's a decent record with its star Dave's increasingly good voice.
All the lyrics here are Dave's and what's interesting is that they follow themes familiar to DM fans: hope, redemption, sin and faith. Gone are the clunky lyrics of his early solo works and instead there's a focus, sometimes a tad too simplistic, that makes the songs work. Set against the dark gospel feel of Soulsavers' music, songs like Shine and lead single All Of This And Nothing stand out impressively, with a real feel of Mode like gloom merged with soaring, powerful music, all topped off with Dave's warm, striking vocals. The final track My Sun is a beauty too, mastering the trick of ending an album on a perfect closing track that seems to sum up the album perfectly. It's also one of the sparser tracks on the album and that's important as sometimes the full on production here can start to feel a bit repetitive. Lately is another example of a track which benefits from a less is more approach.
It's pleasing to note that this release has gathered a lot of attention and, ultimately, it deserves that. Dave's a natural showman and it's great to see his appetite is still there after all these years. He's not one for retiring into the synth bunker like Mr Gore - Dave will put himself out there again and again and, the fact he and Soulsavers are about to embark on a mini tour shows that he has complete confidence in this record. Overall, you'd naturally imagine that the vast majority of people who buy it will be Depeche fans, hungry for any Mode product between albums, but there's no reason why this won't cause non DM ears to prick up too. Welcome back Dave.
Angels And Ghosts is out now on Columbia and is available on cd and download. A vinyl version will follow in December.