Next up we got the album itself. Exciter arrived on 14 May 2001 and reached number 9 in the UK album charts. I remember at the time that depechemode.com trailed the album's release by putting 30 second samples up on the site. That was rather exciting and I used to go to EasyInternet every lunchtime to catch the newest sample. The one that stood out the most for me was Shine - the sample started at "You've been hanging from a rope of mediocrity" with the hard sounding synth parts in the background. I was excite(r)ed. It sounded like Depeche were back in a big electronically marvellous way. Hmmm.
Exciter (left) appeared on double LP (STUMM190), cassette (CSTUMM190), CD (CDSTUMM190) and mini disc (MDSTUMM190) each containing thirteen tracks. The focus of the album seems to be moody electronics with quite a bit of influence from producer Mark Bell. The production is fairly cold however and to be perfectly honest fairly bland. The whole thing never really gets going sonically and it really lacks something for that. Kicking off with Dream On (see above), we then moved onto Shine. It's a decent track but not spectacular. I'd like to have seen them at least try it out live but that wasn't to be. Track 3 is The Sweetest Condition which is a great song and one which did work live despite Dave's Elvis-isms. Next up we have When The Body Speaks which is nice enough. So far so ok - the first four tracks don't compare to the first 4 on Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, MTFM, Violator, SOFAD or Ultra but fair enough. Next up though, Depeche give us something that none of those albums gave us.
The worst Depeche Mode song ever.
"We are the dead of night/We're in the Zombie room"
What is a Zombie room? What the hell's going on? Why does this song exist? I will NEVER understand it. Anyway - moving on track 6 was Lovetheme a wholly pointless instrumental that despite that is still not as bad as The Dead of Night. Freelove is track 7 (see below for single review) followed by the first Martin song of the album, Comatose. It's not very good really. Track 9 is the second single, the Dad goes to the disco sounds of I Feel Loved (again, see below) and then we have another Martin song Breathe. I don't mind Breathe but it does somewhat overdo the Biblical theme. Easy Tiger (AGAIN? SERIOUSLY?) is next before I Am You which I feel the same way about as I do Shine. Sounds ok but I'd really have liked to have seen it played live. We then end on a high with the fantastic Goodnight Lovers (originally entitled Born A Lover). It's a great closing track and I love it. The Exciter artwork was another three minute job from Anton albeit with some decent band shots in the inner sleeve/booklet. And that was that. Easily, at least in my view, the band's weakest album to date with some really awful moments on it. After the magic of Ultra it was a real shame. Happily we got a tour this time and whilst it had some odd moments (The Dead of F****** Night opening shows, the bizarre versions of Black Celebration and Condemnation) it was a fairly joyous affair. Pleasingly, on the shows I saw Fad Gadget opened which was a real treat. RIP Frank :(