From the gothic undertones to the Hammer styled performances, Depeche Mode reaches a peak and valley with their sixth-studio record Music For The Masses. The uplifting nature comes from the depth of sound that the record holds near deep-tuned bass and synth keys that contrast within each other.
The foundation of Music For The Masses is displayed through the repetitive hooks and lyrics that are conjured through the vocals of David Gahan and Martin Gore with the instrumental performances of Alan Wilder and Andrew Fletcher. Both the vocal pieces work well as polar opposites between each other. The somber vocals that are tuned lower that act as the bass lines illustrate a dichotomy when held up against the higher, more pop-styled narration that acts as the primary voyage.
As the instrumentation begins to unfurl in this often jet black and slick display of production. Each instrument in Depeche Mode’s arsenal enacts some chill power behind the candlelit mass grouping of sound. In a somehow desolate, but still interactable movement on the opening track, “Never Let Me Down Again” where the late 80s come alive. Before there was the solid base for grunge, there was Depeche Mode who could push this hardened metallic taste of atmospheric pleasure.
The writing is simple on the opening track but can nestle itself well within the layered, but an ultimately straightforward backing sound that uses more keys and percussion than anything. As “We’re flying high, we’re watching the world pass us by” still reigns through the reverb, Depeche Mode is a melancholy, but dance-heavy last look into one of the neon eras of music. The 1980s at the last frontier, Depeche Mode was a forerunner for synth work that would transition into the 90s still “Flying high” from the electronic undertow.
As they move later into Music For The Masses, the instrumentals become more primal with “Nothing” that uses an assortment of earthy crunches and synthetic flute-esque sections to cascade the listener. The walk on this hallowed ground punches through with drums that act as a wider range net that catch the ears and uplift toward the hook of the track. “Life is full of surprises, it advertises nothing, nothing” as Depeche Mode begins to pack in for the final, nearly instrumental droning tracks to finish out the record.
Music For The Masses works as a sound that still musicians try to capture and recreate today. Where it was successful is in the use for space where the atmosphere plays along almost as if it was a member of the band. Before Depeche Mode departs, they take one last look at the standing and sprawling deserts where their sound will be preserved for the generations to come.