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Depeche Mode talk Sounds of the Universe

Depeche Mode

Story by Jack Foley

DEPECHE Mode return with their 12th studio album Sounds Of The Universe, on April 20, 2009, through Mute, which they are already proclaiming to be one of their best yet.

Preceding the album is the new single Wrong (out April 6) – the first single to be taken from the album, and written by Martin Gore and produced by Ben Hillier.

Explains Martin: “We decided at a fairly early stage that we wanted Wrong to be the first single, because it’s quite different to anything we’ve released before. I don’t know quite what category to put it in musically, but it’s got a kind of rap feel to it. It’s probably as close to R&B as we’re ever going to sound.”

Recorded in Santa Barbara and New York, Sounds Of The Universe reunites Depeche Mode with producer Ben Hillier (Blur, Doves, Elbow), who previously produced their 2005 album Playing The Angel.

“We all felt it would be stupid not to work with Ben again,” continues Martin. “He’s just one of those people who puts his mind to something and becomes instantly professional at it. He’s also quite forceful.

“That’s important for us, at this stage of our career, to have someone willing to stick their neck out and disagree with us.”

Standout tracks are said to include Martin’s velvet-lined ballad Jezebel, the sci-fi gospel-blues hymn In Chains and Hole To Feed, which marries modern electronics to a floor-shaking, bone-rattling Bo Diddley beat.

Another album highlight is Peace, with its sublime techno-gospel arrangement and cascading choral refrain.

Sounds Of The Universe is the closest collaboration yet between Depeche Mode’s two main songwriters.

Martin and Dave share vocals on several songs and they have even co-written one track, Oh Well, which is the B-side of the first single Wrong.

It felt like “a true partnership”, says Dave, who has written three tracks on the album – Hole To Feed, Come Back and Miles Away/The Truth Is.

“All of us have had a really good time being together,” says Martin. “The overall atmosphere in the studio has been fantastic. Very few issues. We were very focussed.”

Sounds Of The Universe will be available in CD, as a special edition CD/DVD set, a deluxe box set (featuring three CDs, a DVD and a host of exclusive extras), double Vinyl LP (including a Sounds Of The Universe CD) and download.

Following the release of Sounds Of The Universe, Depeche Mode embark on their mammoth, global Tour Of The Universe, which kicks off in Israel on May 10, and includes a sold-out date at London’s O2 Arena on May 30.

They have also just announced a handful of 2009 Winter dates. Find out more