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Depeche Mode - Construction Time Again (2007) Retail CD
Construction Time Again was the Mode's third album and their first with Alan Wilder as a band member, filling the void left by Vince Clarke a few years earlier. 1982's A Broken Frame could easily have finished the band, fortunately the band's teeny bop audience and the few decent songs Martin Gore composed (`Leave in Silence', `See You') kept the band afloat. The change is found on the non-album single `Get the Balance Right!' which signalled Wilder's arrival and showcased a potent metallic sound - this was the single that has been cited by people like Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson (and inmore… many ways a year-zero for the Mode.
The influence of sampling, evident in a documentary on how sounds were acquired on Star Wars, as well as the work of Holger Czukay (Movies), Cabaret Voltaire (Voice of America), Eno & Byrne (My Life in the Bush of Ghosts) were filtering down to the pop world and to the Mode. Key was what became tagged industrial music, particularly the work of Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Dept - it would make sense for the Mode to relocate to advance this sound to the legendary Hansa studios in West Berlin for the next few albums. Construction...has a meatier sound, the band and co-producers Gareth Jones and Daniel Miller birthed the classic mode sound that would climax with the trilogy Black Celebration, Music for the Masses & Violator.
Construction...distinguishes itself from the rest of the Mode's back catalogue in one key way: the lyrics. The lightweight homoerotic lyrics of much of the early material and the pervy/religious angle of much of Gore's later lyrics aren't here. Instead the lyrics are like Gang of Four for Smash Hits-readers, there was a reason why X Moore (Chris Dean) big-upped them in the NME over this record! Hit single Everything Counts reflects the themes here, its reflection on the rise of the yuppie and corporate materialism would fit the Thatcher-Reagan-era completely and become one of the songs like Heaven 17's Penthouse & Pavement, ABC's How to Be a Millionaire & Pet Shop Boys' Opportunities (Lets Make Lots of Money). The zeitgeist, pop kids, the zeitgeist...
Other themes are apparent - universal revolution (And Then), famine in Africa pre-Band Aid (Shame), nuclear apocalypse (Wilder's fantastic Two Minute Warning), and the environment (Wilder's not so fantastic The Landscape is Changing). Love In Itself has plinky-plonky Clarke-style synths but a very odd lyric that probably has more in common with Gang of Four's Love Like Anthrax - which I'm sure Simon Reynolds picked up on when discussing the `conform to deform' principle in Rip It Up & Start Again.
The harsh metallic sampledelic sound is apparent on More Than a Party, a rapid clatter of metals and beats that would develop towards the more extreme approach of Something To Do the following year. Even more out there is Pipeline, which is a cold Teutonic industrial ballad - Gore taking lead vocals that seem to nod to some Eastern Bloc workforce and the redistribution of wealth. The ominous moans and the metallic assaults take the approach of early Neubauten (see the first volume of Strategies Against Architecture) and turn it into something like a pop song. The bonus disc sees companion piece, Everything Counts-b-side Work Hard cover the same theme in a dance-floor friendly fashion - you could imagine a mass of subservient comrades on a social for the Cominitern singing along to this (& it's not far from folk like Laibach).
There are a few duds - Wilder's aforementioned Landscape is Changing really should have been a b side instead of Work Hard and live favourite Told You So has some truly abysmal lyrics and reminds you Vince Clarke was better at perky synth-pop. Construction...was a transitional record for the Mode, some of the themes would recur on People are People, New Dress, and Something to Do. Construction Time Again remains one of those odd pop records with elements both lyrical and musical that distinguish it - neither avant-garde or pop-stock - one to file alongside ABC's undervalued Beautystab, Heaven 17's Penthouse & Pavement, Spandau Ballet's Journeys to Glory, Propaganda's A Secret Wish (say P-Machinery) & the two DAF albums on Virgin. Hasten to add, this reissue is as perfectly executed as the other Mode albums in the programme...
Politics, pop, metal-bashing...what's not to like?
|1||Love In Itself|
|2||More Than A Party|
|5||Two Minute Warning|
|7||Landscape Is Changing|
|8||Told You So|
|1||Teenagers Growing Up Bad Government And Stuff|
|2||Love In Itself|
|3||More Than A Party|
|6||Two Minute Warning|
|8||Landscape Is Changing|
|9||Told You So|
|12||Get The Balance Right|
|16||Get The Balance Right|
|17||Everything Counts (In Larger Amounts)|
|18||Love In Itself|
- Depeche Mode - Construction Time Again (2007) Retail CD
- 922 x 924 px
- 362 KB
- 2199 (0 today)
- 31/03/07 by Adrian
- Quality Rating:
Rated 3 of 5 (1 votes). Click CDs to vote!