Friday 25 January 2013


Depeche Mode's albums post Ultra had been a mix of the good (Playing The Angel) and the not so good (Exciter) but there was still much excitement when a new single and album was announced in early 2009. As with the previous campaign, the official site released in studio video snippets in the lead up to the album all of which showed the band making a serious of strange noises via Martin's increasingly gargantuan analogue synth collection. It perhaps indicated that the new songs would be electronic/analogue/synthy sounding and that Depeche would make an almost wholly electronic comeback. Those who thought that (hello) got it, if you'll pardon the rather obvious pun, wrong.

The first new Depeche song in three years physically arrived on 6 April 2009 although after a premiere on a German music awards show, Wrong had been available digitally since 24 February of that year. I mentioned in a previous blog that Precious was a stunning comeback single - Wrong was no different. It is a classic Depeche track. Driving bass, lots of noise, great lyrics and whatsmore in the era of uniformly dreadgful videos, a great video. Wrong just works on every single level. Even non Depeche fans that I know (there aren't that many - I try not to associate with people like that) loved it. When the physical formats arrived the song performed really badly in the UK reaching only number 24 which is clearly a consequence of the song having been available digitally for an age before it's physical arrival. Having just recovered from the shock of seeing a good video, I was then amazed to discover good remixes on the cd singles. CDBONG40 (above left) was a two track affair featuring Wrong and a b-side in the shape of Oh Well (Black Light Odyssey Remix) which is a great remix of the first ever song to be jointly written by Martin (music) and Dave (lyrics).

LCDBONG40 (top right) has Wrong plus 4 remixes. The best remix here is track 2 which is the Trentemoller Club Remix which is an absolute cracker of a remix. The remainder (Thin White Duke remix, Magda's Scallop Funk Mix and D.I.M v Boys Noize Mix) are all fine too and are certainly an improvement on the previous few years' bland set of mixes. There were two vinyl releases too. Firsty there is the standard 12" (12BONG40 - above right) which takes the Magda's, Trentemoller and Thin White Duke remixes from the LCD and adds the ok-ish Caspa Remix of Wrong. The highlight of the release however is the numbered limited edition 7" single (BONG40) which comes in a red with black tints vinyl and features Wrong and Oh Well (Edit). The sleeve adds the phrase "platte im mehrfarbigem vinyl" which is the phrase you'd see on the German 12" coloured vinyl series from the 80's. It roughly means "record in multicoloured vinyl" (please feel free to correct me) and to have it on the front of the record was a fanatastic thing. A picture is below in the Peace review section.

Wrong was a fantastic start to the campaign and the album Sounds Of The Universe (SOTU) quickly followed it on 17 April 2009. Impressively, it reached number 2 in the UK, Depeche's highest chart position since Ultra. The album came in the usual formats of CD (CDSTUMM300), LP (STUMM300 - double vinyl which came with a cd of the album too) and DVD (DVDSTUMM300).

The standard tracklisting is: In Chains (long start to the album and ok), Hole To Feed (Dave written, worst song title ever, poor), Wrong (yay!) Fragile Tension (I like this track - loads don't. It was leaked pre release and because it wasn't Enjoy The Disease of Truth Jesus In My Shoes people got unnecessarily angry. The part where Dave sings "through glittering galas without even trying" harmonised by Martin is a joy to the ears), Little Soul (blah), in Sympathy (just not good), Peace (hmmm), Come Back (Dave's second song of the album and the best of his lot. It's ok), Spacewalker (Hello, I am the pointless instrumental), Perfect (drippy crap), Miles Away/The Truth Is (Dave again, Elvis impressions, stupid song title so named because Martin saw that Madonna had a song called Miles Away, just bloody awful), Jezebel (ok) and Corrupt (the band remember to do something Depeche Mode-ish). Not a great album by any means unfortunately. It's too long and too bland and some of Martin's lyrics are way below the high standard he set. It's overproduced too and really sounds like they should have spent much less time fannying around on ancient Modular synths and instead focussed on sorting out a top notch album. The fact that by the time the tour ended only 4 songs from the album were regularly played (and two of them were Hole To Feed and Miles Away ffs) says a lot. The artwork is lazy too. DVDSTUMM is a black version of the standard sleeve.

The DVD version added the album on dvd for those who wanted to hear how great Spacewalker sounds in 5.1, the Electronic Press Kit, the video for Wrong and three remixes - In Chains (Minilogue's Earth Remix), Little Soul (Thomas Fehlmann Flowing Ambient Remix) and the mighty Jezebel (Six Toes Remix). The latter is fantastic and you really must hear it.

For the first time we Depeche fans were also blessed with a super duper deluxe box set. BXSTUMM300 (right) was filled with a lot of stuff, some pointless, some great. I've only put a picture of the box itself on here - for pics of the rest please visit the excellent As well as a cd of the album the box also conatined a poster, two badges, two books of photos, a certificate of authenticity (for those who were concerned they'd bought a fake box) an envelope containing 6 art cards of which there were 14 to collect and thankfully some fantastic additional music. Tucked away in the box are 3 cd's and a dvd. CD1 is of course the album. CD2 features 5 additional songs and 6 remixes. The hugely frustrating thing about the 5 additional songs is that, Esque apart (another instrumental), they are all the equal of if not better than most of the main album. The songs are Light (a poppy number which is great), The Sun And The Moon And The Stars (a Martin sung ballad sort of song), Ghost (this is classic Depeche Mode. WHY IS IT TUCKED AWAY ON AN EXTRA CD!!!) Esque and Oh Well. The remixes are all decent too - Corrupt (Efdemin Remix), In Chains (Minilogue's Earth Remix), Little Soul (Thomas Fehlmann Flowing Ambient Remix), Perfect (Electronic Periodic Dark Drone Remix) and Wrong (Caspa Remix). The DVD has a 5.1 version of the album and the 5 extra songs as well as two documentaries (Making The Universe and 2009: Usual Thing. Try and Get The Question in Answer), the Electronic Press Kit, the Wrong video and superbly enough 4 live in studio tracks. From SOTU we have Corrupt, Little Soul and Come Back and they are joined by a guitar based version of Stories of Old from Some Great Reward. A random but fanatstic surprise.

The 5 extra songs aside, the real highlight of the boxset is cd3 which contains 14 demos. For years, Depeche demos have been sought after by the Black Swarm. Some have popped up on line (Here Is The House, Shake The Disease etc), some have had official releases albeit with the demo tidied up (Enjoy The Silence (Harmonium), To Have And To Hold (Spanish Taster) and some have been heard by only a select few of which I am sadly not a part. Here however were 15 for us to grab a hold of. They are all Martin sung unless other wise indicated - Little 15, Clean, Sweetest Perfection, Walking In My Shoes, I Feel You, Judas, Surrender, Only When I Lose Myself, Nothing's Impossible (Dave), Corrupt, Peace, Jezebel, Come Back (Dave) and In Chains. Judas is the best one here for me. It was long rumoured to have taken quite a few guises and Alan had even hinted once that it took a reggae turn at one point as the demo here actually proves. It's very far from the brooding genius thte song actually became. To be honest, the demos for the SOTU songs are the least exciting here and whilst it's easy to moan and say "Where are all the demos from everything they've ever done?" we should be pleased with what we got. As an additional cd, the demo disc is a really really good thing.

After the album, the next single to be released was, entirely perplpexingly, the dreadful Peace which slipped out almost unnoticed on 15 June 2009. I don't know what the point of this release was really. Even the band seemed to agree by failing to appear in the hideous video. The only sign of them was a poster that is briefly shown. Peace was also the first Depeche single since Dreaming of Me not to have a 12" release. The were only two things that stopped the release of Peace being wholly worthless, the first of which was the 7" coloured vinyl release (BONG41 - see below for my own Peace and Wrong 7" singles) which was on a white/grey vinyl again with a Platte Im Mehrfarbigem Vinyl on the front. The tracks were Peace (single mix) and Come Back (Jonsi Remix) which is of course a remix by Jonsi the lead singer of Sigur Ros and it's a decent enough take on the song. CDBONG41 (above left)  contained the release's other redeeming feature. Alongside the single mix of Peace we had the Six Toes remix of Peace which, like their remix of Jezebel, is a real treat and well worth grabbing. It's so refreshing to hear remixers do something entirely different apoint which is back up by the bland collection of remixes padding out LCDBONG41 (above right) - Single mix, Herve's "Warehouse Frequencies" Remix (blah), Sander Van Doorn Remix (Bleh), Japanese Popstars Remix( best one here and pretty good), Sid Le Rock Remix(Poor at best) and Justus Kohncke Extended Disco Club Vocal (like his Lilian remixes, as bad as the name suggests). Peace matched Dreaming of Me in reaching number 57 in the UK charts. A dismal performance for a dismal single and an insult to the glorious genius of Dreaming Of Me.

The final release of the campaign was a double A side of Hole To Feed and Fragile Tension which was released on 7 December 2009 and didn't chart because its releases werent eligible. There was a video made for Hole To Feed but you should never ever watch it. Ever. The single was released on a double 12", cd and digitally. The double 12" is nice to have as its packaging and artwork is cool but it really only has a couple of semi good remixes on it. The tracklisting of 12BONG42 (left) is Fragile Tension (Stephan Bodzin Remis), Fragile Tension (Kris Menace's Love on Laserdisc Remix), Hole To Feed (Popof Vocal Mix), Hole To Feed (Paul Woolford's Easy Fun Ethereal Disco Mix), Perfect (Roger Sanchez Club Mix), Perfect (Ralphi Rosario Dub), Peace (Herve's "Warehouse Frequencies" Remix) and Peace (Sander Van Doorn Remix). CDBONG42 (right) actually contains some decent listen to more than once stuff - Fragile Tension (Radio Mix), Hole To Feed (Radio Mix), Perfect (Roger Sanchez Club Mix), Come Back (Six Toes Remix - hooray!), Fragile Tension (Laidback Luke Remix), Hole To Feed (Popof Vocal Mix), Fragile Tension (Peter, Bjorn and John Remix - very good) and Hole To Feed (Joebot Remix). The digital versions add a couple more remixes but as ever I'm reporting on physical formats only.

And that was that for the SOTU releases. The Tour of The Universe went on for 102 shows over 5 legs which included a Royal Albert Hall charity show in which Alan stepped onstage to play piano on Somebody which was a lovely moment. The shows I saw were good though the setlist went from its early brave incarnation (Strangelove, Master and Servant, Fly On The Windscree, some songs from SOTU) to a fairly safe setlist by the time the European arena shows rolled around. Still, it's always good to see Depeche live whatever the setlist so no complaint from me.

I'm polishing this off on the day after the new album Delta Machine was announced so my next blog will be out very soon as it will deal with the Remixes 2 album by which point I'll be bang up to date. Thanks again to,, and to the ever pulsating brain at the heart of the Depeche Mode universe Panos

Wednesday 16 January 2013


Depeche Mode's first move post Playing The Angel was the release of a brand new single named Martyr which, like Only When I Lose Myself in 1998, was a prelude to a compilation album. The album Martyr was the single for was The Best of Volume I which I'll look at below.

Martyr was a song recorded during the Playing The Angel sessions which was rejected for the album as it was too poppy. You may recall that during the official site's pre album video teasers a version of Martyr was heard playing through the studio speakers whilst Fletch pretended to do something music related. It's a good song which whilst not really fitting for a Best Of, is better than say Lilian. Anyway, the single was released on 30 October 2006 and hit a very respectable number 13 in the UK. Following the band's rejection of the first attempt at a video for the song, an odd compilation style video accompanied the track with Dave seemingly singing the song in footage culled from live shows from the PTA era.

The single was initially released on cd and dvd. CDBONG39 (right) contained the single version of Martyr and the decent enough Booka Shade Full Vocal Mix of the same track. LCDBONG39 (left) gave us the bland Paul Van Dyk Remix Edit of Martyr, the excellent Alex Smoke Gravel Mix and the fantastic Digitalism Remix of Never Let Me Down Again. This cd is worth buying for the NLMDA remix alone. It is like an angry version of the Aggro Mix from the original NLMDA 12" single. It is easily on the of the best Depeche remixes of modern times. DVDBONG39 (below left)meanwhile has the Martyr video montage and audiof two ok-ish remixes of Martyr - Dreher & S.M. Art B.N. Reload Remix (nope, me neither) and Booka Shade Travel Mix. A slipcase is available for all three formats. A 12" (12BONG39 - same art as CDBONG39) followed on 4 December with 3 Martyr remixes - the Dreher etc one, Alex Smoke Gravel Mix and the Booka Shade Dub, the latter again an ok mix and exclusive to this release.

More interesting vinyl was released on 11 December 2006. Firstly there was another 7" picture disc (BONG39 - left)) featuring the single version of Martyr and the outstanding Digitalism remix of NLMDA. Secondly we had a real treat. L12BONG39 (right) was a double 12" single which unlike the band's previous double 12" (It's Called a Heart) was fantastic in every respect. The artwork along makes this worth getting with nods to the band's past throughout. The tracklisting is special too. As with the earlier Remixes project, four classic Depeche tracks were given modern remixes however on this occasion every remix is a cracker. Disc 1 has the NLMDA remix by Digitalism (did I mention that I liked it?) and Personal Jesus (Boys Noize Rework) which is a great remix of a great track. Disc 2 has the epic Everything Counts (Oliver Huntemann & Stephen Bodzin Dub) and the even epic-er still People Are People (Underground Resistance Remix). Both tracks are top class examples of how to remix older songs and make them sound fantastic. Get this 12" if you can.

The Best of Volume I(right) was released on 13 November 2006 and reached number 18 in the charts. The name of the album is I guess controversial given the album's tracklisting as every Depeche fan will have their own Best Of list but for the uninitiated it's not a bad start. The tracklisting is: Personal Jesus, Just Can't Get Enough, Everything Counts, Enjoy The Silence, Shake The Disease, See You, It's No Good, Suffer Well, Dream On, People Are People, Martyr, Walking In My Shoes, I Feel You, Precious, Master & Servant, New Life and Never Let Me Down Again. No room for The Meaning of Love eh? Seriously though, where are Stripped, A Question of Time and so on? The album was released on cd (CDMUTEL15) and special edition cd plus DVD (LCDMUTEL15 - the cover is the same except the flower is red) the dvd of which contained videos for all the singles on the cd bar New Life and Martyr and rather oddly added the videos for Stripped, A Question of Time, Strangelove, Behind The Wheel, Barrel Of A Gun, Only When I Lose Myself, I Feel Loved and Enjoy The Silence 04 before finishing off the the Electronic Press Kit for the album. A triple vinyl version of the album was released on 12 February 2007

All in all, the Best of Volume I isn't an essential release for the hardcore Depeche fan but it's a nice enough item and the single release, especially L12BONG39, is well worth getting. The next thing we'd hear from Depeche was the rather marvellous Wrong and that'll be lovingly poured over next time

Thanks to,, and as ever to the editorial skills of Panos.

Monday 7 January 2013


After the let down of Exciter, (personally speaking of course) I had a sense of trepidation about the new Depeche Mode releases. The Remix album had provided some good moments but that was only ever going to be a stop gap as the real evidence of whether Depeche still had it in them would be the new album. Things turned out just fine....

The first new Depeche music in four years (I'm not counting the remixed versions from 2004) arrived on 3 October 2005 with the release of Precious. The song had been leaked through the company in charge of making the very odd Depeche on a computerised boat video a few weeks before so we were all familiar with it but setting that aside, the release of Precious was huge as it was and still is a classic Depeche track. The melody, the music, the lyrics (Martin writing to his kids apologising for any distress caused by their parents divorce), everything - it just worked. It was instantly better than anything from Exciter and would be welcome on any modern era album prior to that. The single joined Barrel Of A Gun and People Are People as joint highest ever UK chart position holders reaching number 4 in the charts. As with all the Playing The Angel era singles a collection of mainly bland remixes popped up too. The CD and DVD singles were released on 3 October. CDBONG35 (below left) featured the album version of Precious and the Single Edit of Sasha's Spooky Mix of the same track. There's nothing spooky about it really. LCDBONG35 (above right) gave us two bits of rubbish (Precious - Sasha's Gargantuan Vocal Mix (Edit) and Precious - Misc Full Vocal Mix) and a.......wait for it.......B SIDE(!!) in the shape of new track Free. Firstly, it's a great song and secondly, ignoring the joys of digital releases and the fact they only have one side, IT'S A B SIDE! It's not an album track (hello One Caress and Pimpf), nor is it an instrumental (hello Zenstation. Actually, piss off Zenstation) it is an actual new song. Lovely stuff. One thing does occur though - why was it not on CDBONG35? Finally, DVDBONG35 (above left) gave us the odd Precious video, a very good and indeed best of the bunch remix of Precious by Motor and the Michael Mayer Ambient Mix of Precious which is ok

The 12" singles were released on 10 October. 12BONG35 (same art as CDBONG35) has the full length Sasha mixes - Spooky Mix and Gargantuan waste of time Vocal Mix both of which are unfortunately longer than the Edits. L12BONG35 (same art as LCDBONG35) had the Misc Full Vocal Mix (meh), Michael Mayer Balearic Mix (bleh), Motor Remix (hoorah!) and Misc Crunch Mix (hmm) of Precious. Finally vinally and somewhat belatedly a 7" picture disc of Precious was released on 11 December 2006. All subsequent Playing The Angel singles had 7" picture disc releases yet no-one seemed to think that it would make sense if all 4 singles had 7" picture disc versions. Anyhoo, following sterling work by whose members petitioned Mute  the very colourful 7" picture disc (BONG35 - right) of Precious was released which contained the Album version and Michael Mayer Ambient Mix of the track.

Rather than release a new single, the band brought Playing The Angel out next on 17 October 2005 and it reached number 6 in the UK. The Anton designed artwork features someone who is either known as Mr Feathers or Tubby Goth, the latter being the band's name for him. Wonder if Robert Smith's lawyers were ever asked to get involved? We had the usual different formats to contend with. STUMM260 was a double LP, CDSTUMM260, LCDSTUMM260 (a SACD and DVD with a red Mr Feathers/Tubby Goth on the front) and UMDSTUMM260 which is apparently a format for the Playstation Portable. Now, I am a collector of Depeche releases as you may have gathered but I've never seen this and to be honest have no need to. Does anyone have one? The tracklisting of the album is A Pain That I'm Used To, John The Revelator, Suffer Well, The Sinner In Me, Precious, Macro, I Want It All, Nothing's Impossible, Introspectre, Damaged People, Lilian and The Darkest Star. This album is the first to feature songs written by Dave. He has three in all ranging from the excellent (Nothing's Impossible) to the very good (Suffer Well) to as good (I Want It All). The remaining tracks are Martin's and are a bit of a mixed bag. A Pain That I'm Used to is a great opener and John The Revelator follows it up nicely. After Suffer Well we have The Sinner In Me which is for me one of the strongest tracks here and has a marvellous very noisy breakdown in the middle. Precious is obviously excellent two. The two Martin sung songs are Macro and Damaged People and both are a bit crap to be honest though Macro is noteworthy for Dave's backing vocals both on the album and live which was a nice touch. The lyrics to Macro are easily amongst Martin's worst however. Lilian is a poppy effort which is a 4 or 5 out of 10 and Introspectre is one of those entirely pointless instrumental things. Finally, the album ends on The Darkest Star which I think is excellent. It's a track that tends to split the DM fan base - seems you either love it or hate it. Overall PTA has far many more high points than Exciter's many low points and is the better album of the two.

The next single release came on 12 December with A Pain That I'm Used (APTIUT) to which charted here at a respectable 15. Two cd formats and a dvd format were the first releases. CDBONG36 (left) featured APTIUT and another new B side called Newborn which, like Free, is a great tune and far stonger than a couple of the tracks on the album itself. LCDBONG36 (right) gave us five remixes of APTIUT. First up there is the Jacques Le Cont remix and Jacques Le Cont Dub with the former being more impressive than the latter though both are pretty decent. Jacques Le Cont is the alter ego of producer Stuart Price who is a huge Depeche fan but turned down the chance to produce the band on the basis that he was too big a fan to undertake the task. Track 3 is the Goldfrapp remix which is good but not up to the standard of their excellent remix of Halo for the Remixes project. The Bitstream Spansule Mix follows (again ok) before the Telex Remix rounds things off. The Telex Remix is excellent - short and to the point. It's well worth hearing.

DVDBONG36 (left) contains the utterly pointless APTIUT video, some exclusive behind the scenes footage of the video (yawn) and the audio of the Foster Remix by Kettel of Newborn which is by far the only reason to own this dvd. Vinyl releases followed a week later with two 12" singles and another 7" pciture disc. The 7" (BONG36 - see my four (!) copies right) contains the Goldfrapp remix of APTIUT and the Foster Remix by Kettel of Newborn. The picture disc itself is dark on one side and has PAIN on the other as the picture of my needlessly large collection of them shows. 12BONG36 (same art as LCDBONG36) contained the two Jacques le Cont remixes and L12BONG36 (same art as DVDBONG36) has the Bitstream Threshold Mix (again ok nothing more) and the Bitstream Spansule Mix.

The third single of the campaign was a new chapter in Depeche history as it was a single that Dave had written making it the first DM single release since Just Can't Get Enough not to have been written by Martin. Suffer Well is a great song and remains one of Dave's best. I'm not really a fan of his solo work bar the odd song (Kingdom, Saw Something (until the horror of the guitar solo)) but Suffer Well and Nothing's Impossible are really strong tracks. Another pleasing thing about Suffer Well was the video which saw Anton Corbijn return and which put Martin in a wedding dress. Whilst he may not have suited the leather skirt look in the mid 80's it's fair to say that it was far more attractive a sight than him dressed up as a bride. As well as the blushing bride the video also features Dave as a bequiffed fallen rock star (possibly the guy from the Its No Good video?) and Fletch as a preacher. Do try and see it if you haven't already. Suffer Well was released on 27 March 2006 and got to number 12 in the UK which was a strong showing for the third single from a 6 month old album. CDBONG37 (above left) contains Suffer Well and yet another new track as a bside, the short and snappy Better Days which is again a good tune. LCDBONG37 (above right) has 6 remixes of Suffer Well - Tiga Remix (a bit bland), The Narcotic Thrust Vocal Dub (nowhere near as good as its name would suggest), the Alter Ego Remix (ok), the M83 remix (hmmm....some love it but I don't), the Metope Vocal Remix and finally the Metope remix, the latter two sounding just as interesting as each other. DVDBONG37 (left) has the video (hooray!) and two audio tracks namely Suffer Well (Alter Ego Dub) and Better Days (Basteroid "Dance Is Gone" Vocal mix).

As well as the usual 12" singles there will vinyl treats in store too. 12BONG37 (same art as DVDBONG37)  had a whopping three tracks, all remixes of Suffer Well - Tiga Remix, Tiga Dub (Aren't dub versions usually just worse versions of the remix they claim to be a dub of?) and the Narcotic Thrust Vocal Dub (case in point). L12BONG37 (same art as LCDBONG37) gives us the two Metope and one M83 remix of Suffer Well and the daftly named Basteriod etc version of Better Days. the 7" picture disc (BONG37 left) has the Metope Vocal Mix of Suffer Well on the a-side and the frankly brilliant Monolake Mix of The Darkest Star on the b-side. An album track remix as a bside! We're in Higher Lover (Adrenaline Mix) territory here albeit the Monolake Mix isn't rubbish. And finally, we have our third ever XL12", XL12BONG37 (above right) which features two further remixes of The Darkest Star - the Holden Mix and the Holden Dub. Some ill advised commentators may try and tell you that a dub mix is usually just a worse version of the mix it claims to be the dub of but they clearly haven't heard these mixes. Both are great and frankly, it was nice to have an XL12 again.

The last single from Playing The Angel was a double a-side, the band's first since 1984's Blasphemous Rumours/Somebody double header. John The Revelator (JTR) and Lilian were a curious combination for a double A side as JTR is a far stronger track than Lilian although perhaps the intention was to attempt to capitalise on Lilian's poppy sound. It was released on 5 June 2006 and got to number 18 in the UK is again a pretty decent performance. There was only a video for JTR which is taken from the live performance from the Touring The Angel dvd with Mr Feathers making cartoon style appearances throughout. It's not very good. Once again we had a 7" picture disc (BONG38 - below left) which had JTR (Unkle Dub) which is ok and the frankly hideously named remix of Lilian named Robag Wrumhe Slomoschen Killer. The remix itself is as good as the name. CDBONG38 (above left) had the single versions of both tracks both of which are slight edits of the album versions.

LCDBONG38 (below left)  had 5 remixes of JTR:- "Dave Is In The Disco Tiefschwarz Remix, Murk Mode Remix, UNKLE Re Construction, Boosta Club remix and Tiefschwarz Dub. I know that it may be getting repetitive of me but, the UNKLE Re Construction aside, these remixes once again suffer from the curse of the bland club mix and as a result none are in any way memorable. As ever for this campaign we aslo got a dvd (DVDBONG38 - right) with the JTR video and audio of the bare version of Nothing's Impossible (the best thing on show here) and the Chab Vocal remix of Lilian. I should say at this stage that Mute made cardboard sleeves available for all single releases from PTA which were designed to house the 2 cd's and the dvd. From memory they were only available by ordering them from Mute and were fairly limited. There was vinyl here too with 12BONG38 (same art as CDBONG38) providing the two Tiefschwarz mixes above and the Chab Dub of Lilian and L12BONG38 (same art as LCDBONG38) giving us the Murk Mode Dub and Boosta Club remixes of JTR and the Chab Vocal remix of Lilian. Really one for collectors only and not in a good way.

The band toured the album fairly extensively and the shows I saw were great. There was much more life to them than the Exciter shows and the choice of songs for the set was much better especially Martin's solo versions of Blue Dress, Judas, shake The Disease and.....LEAVE IN SILENCE! I couldn't believe it when he played that - it was truly magical. A live dvd from the Milan show followed the tour but failed to capture how good the shows were due to the needlessly arty direction of it - a real shame. Overall the PTA era was a far more enjoyable era for me than Exciter mainly because the band showed that they could still put together a good album and that they were still a real live force. Next up would be another Best Of which I'll come to next time.

Finally - please let me apologise for the formatting of this blog. Google have once again pissed around with the blogger settings meaning my pictures are all over the place. I can't find an obvious cure for this at present but will sort it out once I do.

Thanks again to ,, and to Panos for his editorial skills and huge Depeche Mode brain.