Tuesday 28 June 2022



On 13th June 2022, the next instalment of the Depeche Mode 12" Singles boxsets arrived with the Exciter era edition landing with a satisfying thud on doormats all over the world. What extras would we get this time? Would there be stickers? Would they bother including Easy Tiger? Read on....

Before we get into it all, as this is the first Depeche Mode thing I've written since Fletch passed away, I couldn't go on without mentioning him. I've held off writing this because it didn't feel right and to be honest it still doesn't really. However, if I have brought one thing to the world, it's Depeche Mode related reviews that annoy people, so it is time to start talking about the band again. I've no idea if Andy ever read the nonsense this blog trots out, but if he did, I hope he enjoyed it. Rest in peace Fletch.

As with the previous boxsets, this one comes in a thick cardboard box with artwork based on the album art as you can see.

The back of the box contains the tracklisting. What's that noise you hear? Well that's the Pedantry Klaxon. It is sounding because there are timing errors on the back. On the newly formed L12BONG32, a new 12" stuffed full of Freelove remixes more of which presently, the third track on side A, Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation, previously only available on a promo 12" is listed as having a running time of 8 minutes 51 seconds. It is in fact 8 minutes 43 seconds long. Also, the first track on Side B, the Deep Dish Freedom Remix of Freelove is shown as being 11 minutes 25 seconds long when it is in fact 11 minutes 45 seconds long. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing you expect on here - admit it.

There is also the usual photo menu piece of paper thing that accompanies these releases. I imagine it has a name but I have no idea what it is.

The first 12" in the box is 12BONG30, Dream On. 

It contains the same three tracks as the original 12" and you can read all about them and everything else Dream On related in my in-depth review of the single here - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

The Ultra 12" Singles Boxset introduced us to the concept of new L12 12" singles and the Exciter box follows that trend. We get an L12 for Dream On and it is unsurprisingly called L12BONG30. As there is no 12" single to replicate, it cleverly replicates the outer and inner sleeves of LCDBONG30.

It's a very nice concept but it's unfortunately flawed and that flaw repeats itself on all the new 12" singles in this box. The new inner sleeves are too thin meaning that the heavyweight 12" inside them causes the edges to tear. There is just now tear on my Dream On sleeve but there are two on each of the new I Feel Loved and Freelove 12" singles. I know of quite a few other fans who have experienced the same thing. It is a pity as these new 12" singles are well thought out and rather lovely things.

L12BONG30 is a 7 track record. Side A features Dream On (Single Version), Easy Tiger (Full Version), the sadly inevitable Easy Tiger (Bertrand Burgalat & A.S. Dragon Version) and Dream On (Dave Clark Acoustic Version).

Side B features three remixes of Dream On: Octagon Man Mix, Octagon Man Dub and Kid 606 Mix. The Octagon Man Dub was previously only available on a promo 12" for entirely understandable reasons.

The next single from Exciter was I Feel Loved, the only release from the Exciter era to have two 12" releases. 

12BONG31 is faithfully reproduced. The full review of that single from last year's blog nervous breakdown is here - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_8.html

One joy of the 12" Singles series has been the attention to detail and there's a nice touch in this 12". The original had a sticker on the front telling you that it contained remixes by Danny Tenaglia and that sticker is neatly tucked inside the record here giving you the option to add it or keep it tucked away.

L12BONG31 turns up just as you would expect it to.

The label on the record is lovely as are all the Exciter era labels. I'm sure you agree.

The second new 12" in the box is XL12BONG31 which mirrors the inner and outer sleeves of LCDBONG31.

If you wanted a bigger picture of Dave's hand than you have on your CD single, you are in luck.

Side A features the single versions of I Feel Loved and Dirt.

Side B has two remixes of I Feel Loved: Extended Instrumental and Desert After Hours Dub. 

Freelove comes next and 12BONG32 turns up just as you would expect it to.

If you think this post goes into unnecessary depth, try the full single review where you will find all the tracklists for these releases - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_15.html

This 12" contains another treat in the form of another sticker that you can apply should the mood take you.

The third and final new 12" in this box again looks to the LCD release for inspiration.

It is again a lovely thing but suffers from the thin paper/heavy 12" problem I mentioned earlier.

Side A contains three tracks - the glorious Freelove (Flood Mix), Zenstation and Freelove (Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation).

On Side B we have two remixes of Freelove which like the Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation were only previously available on promo 12" - Deep Dish Freedom Remix and Powder Productions Remix.

The final 12" in the box is the Goodnight Lovers 12", 12BONG33.

The original release was available on red vinyl and black vinyl as you can read about in alarming depth in my single review - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_15.html 

If you ordered the single from Mute Bank in 2002, you got a poster with the record. The original poster looks like this:

As you can see, it's a lovely thing. This boxset gives his another treat by including a reproduction of the poster in the Goodnight Lovers 12" but there is a slight problem. See if you can spot it:

Have you seen it? Yes, that's right. The release date is a year out. Having gone to the wonderful length of including poster, it's a shame to see this error.

As ever, we have a reproduction promo poster, this time for Dream On.

And finally, we have a download card. I have no idea what one would actually download music to these days but it's nice to have the option.

Like the previous boxsets, this one is lovingly put together and the work that has gone into making it sound and look good is superb. The poster mistake can be forgiven I think but it's a shame that the lovely new 12" inner sleeves are easily damaged by the heavy 12" singles. 

At some point soon we will no doubt get news about the Playing The Angel 12" Singles box and that will be interesting. There were 9 official 12" singles plus a few promos so it's bound to be a big one. When that comes along, I'll open it and post pictures here so you don't have to.