Jan 042013

There are numerous landmarks achieved with this, the debut album of synth-pop combo, Depeche Mode. Released by Mute Records, it was a rare genuine indie album for its time. Speak and Spell contained also many songs which were amongst the first electronic numbers heard on the airwaves e.g. “New Life”, “Just Can’t Get Enough” and my personal favourite, “Dreaming of Me”. The use of synthesizers instead of the usual guitar, bass and drums instrumentation was so refreshing back in 1981. But what made the music of early Depeche Mode so memorable and timeless are the brilliant songs. Pop songs filled with hooks that captured the imagination of the post-punk generation, and taking Kraftwerk’s uncompromising electronic agenda to its logical conclusion. The album was also the only Depeche Mode LP with then-prinicipal songwriter Vince Clarke (who’d go on with further success with Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure). Martin Gore would come to the fore in Clarke’s absence, turning the outfit towards the darker material it would become world famous for in subsequent years.¬†Three decades later, thanks to the post-punk revival, Speak and Spell is as relevant as it ever was. Essential.


  1. Hey Kevin,

    Great post. Depeche Mode is absolutely one of my favorite bands. Starting with “Speak and Spell” all the way up through “Songs of Faith and Devotion”. Once Alan Wilder left it lost a little something for me but these early albums hold a special place in my heart. It’s pop on the surface but there’s something much more nefarious scratching just below. Love it. Matt (Bittersweet Machines)

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