New Music Tuesday: Depeche Mode • The Strokes • Wavves

Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.

Depeche ModeDelta Machine

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Secret to the End”

Album Highlights: The song that grabs me the most is “Alone”, as it features Dave Grahan’s haunting baritone voice while Martin Gore lays down many layers of synth and drumbeats. The first single off Delta Machine, “Heaven” is close to the classic style of Depeche Mode, with more harmonies between the singers, and it’s fuzzy sound quality provides the listener with classic Depeche Mode peripherals.

Album Lowlight: Depeche Mode knows what works for them so they stick to it. I would of liked to see some different styles in some of the songs, but they didn’t deviate too far from their past work. It’s hard to blame Depeche Mode for sticking to their sound, as 80’s synth-based music is present today more than ever.

Takeaway: These 80’s electro-pop Veterans churned out another album of synth-heavy tunes that evoke many past memories of their previous work. Diehard Depeche Mode fans will probably enjoy this album just for the sole purpose of having new tracks to listen to, but I don’t see many new fans being won over by this record.

~Pete Mauch

The StrokesComedown Machine

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Slow Animals”
“Happy Ending”
“All the Time”
“One Way Trigger”

Album Highlights: A subtle step in a soulful direction, the Strokes branch out with R&B vocals and baseline tricks they have unfortunately kept hidden up their sleeves until this album. Sandwiched between choruses defined by their signature guitar riffs and lyrical structure, “Slow Animals” isn’t too far out of their comfort zone, but resonates nonetheless. Hearing Casablanca’s range in a different tone is refreshing, and the band’s baritone harmonizing is not only catchy but sheds a whole new light on where the band could be headed in the long term.

Album Lowlight: Cut “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” in half and it still would have had the same creative impact without seeming pretentiously drawn out. I may have just had too high of expectations for what the Strokes could’ve done with a traditional samba, but this one falls short regardless of my preconceived notions. The track sounds like Casablanca is drunkenly crooning in a bathtub down the hallway, trying to be drowned out by his neighbors’ french pop vinyls.

Takeaway: Taking a note from their Beggar’s Group labelmates Beirut, the Strokes introduce an electro element to the album with the accordion-simulated pop gem “One Way Trigger”. Pulsating drums, Spanish guitar and Casablanca’s gorgeous falsettos make this easily the most catchy and energetic track on the album. It’s destined for commercial airplay and chart-topping success. Summer time hit is written all over it.

~Molly Kish

WavvesAfraid of Heights

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Sail to the Sun”
“Afraid of Heights” feat. Jenny Lewis
“Beat Me Up”

Album Highlights: Nathan Williams’ Wavves are at it again, doing what they generally do best; write angst-ridden songs coupled with his nasal voice and insanely poppy guitar hooks. However, on this current release we see Wavves take advantage of their signing to a major label, which in turn means a slight departure from the lo-fi sound. Production really shines through here for this still-young band. Lyrically, Williams has not strayed too far from his dropout, stoner ethos we have become used to. “I’ll always be on my own,” is shouted on track “Demon to Lean On.”

Album Lowlight: The release of King of the Beach many years ago cemented the band’s status as a contender in the running for the garage rock crown. A high profile relationship with Bethany Consentino of Best Coast catapulted the band further, but after many years and many similar acts, the formula is starting to wear thin for Williams. The album clocks in at over 40 minutes, an impressive feat, but can tend to drag on towards the end.

Takeaway: Fans of the band will surely eat up this album, playing it on heavy rotation most of the summertime, understandably. Though it is more polished than previous efforts, it is still gonna make the kids stage dive and pogo along at their shows, as demonstrated at Bottom of the Hill last weekend. Self-loathing has never been more fun!

~Kevin Quandt

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