Depeche Mode: Martin Gore (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer); David Gahan (vocals); Andrew Fletcher, Alan Wilder (keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals).
Producers: Depeche Mode, George Jones, Daniel Miller.
Recorded at Music Works, London, England and Hansa Mischraum, Berlin, Germany.
Depeche Mode: David Gahan, Alan Wilder, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher.
Recording information: Hansa Meschraum, Berlin, Germany (01/1984-08/1984); Music Works, London, England (01/1984-08/1984).
Photographers: Stuart Graham; Brian Griffin .
Depeche Mode's U.S. breakthrough album, 1984's SOME GREAT REWARD, expanded the U.K. synth band's American following from a small cult of Anglophiles to the same sort of teenage adulation that the Cure had started attracting around the same time. Featuring the Top 20 U.S. hit "People Are People," along with cult faves such as the intensely mopey "Blasphemous Rumours," the fashionably S&M-tinged "Master and Servant," and the disarmingly earnest love ballad "Somebody," this is the album on which Depeche Mode finally shed the stigma of founding songwriter Vince Clarke's departure.
SOME GREAT REWARD finds Martin Gore coming into his own as a songwriter, with Alan Wilder taking Gore's place in the George Harrison role, adding two fine tunes of his own. The addition of mechanical factory noise to several songs, as well as the more introspective tones and more intricate constructions, aligned the band more with darker industrial bands than with sunny technopop groups. Meanwhile, Gahan's vocals started hinting at a deeper, moodier tint, foreshadowing the gloomier, more complex, more angular path that was to follow.
One of the first acts to establish a musical identity based completely around the use of synthesizers, Depeche Mode began their existence as a bouncy synth pop outfit but gradually developed a darker, more dramatic sound. Hit singles like "Never Let Me Down Again," "Personal Jesus," and "Enjoy the Silence," positioned them as one of the most successful alternative bands of the 1980s and '90s. Their lineup has gone through some major changes, with Vince Clarke leaving to form Erasure early on, while 1995 saw the long-standing quartet reduced to a trio with the departure of Alan Wilder. Members David Gahan and Martin Gore also began solo careers as the band entered the 2000s. ~ Jason Ankeny
Q (7/95, p.139) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...confirmed Martin Gore as a talent of real depth, creating music that could be both experimental and icily catchy, while combining this with ominous lyrics that hinted at much more than Robert Smith's callow pronouncements..."
CMJ (1/5/04, p.16) - Ranked #3 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1985"