Dave Gahan – Hourglass
Record Label: Virgin / Mute
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Singer-songwriter Dave Gahan can tell people what it feels like to awake from being dead. In 1996 his heart stopped beating for a few minutes after a drug overdose, and afterwards life began to have a different meaning for the front man of the synth-pop group Depeche Mode. His solo album Paper Monsters, released in 2003, launched him as a solo artist and allowed him to come face to face with the demons that were taking over his thoughts and perceptions. Now in 2007, Gahan has released his second solo effort Hourglass on Virgin / Mute Records, which still has his inner-soul reflecting mirror style of writing with a magnetic pull toward a Brit-punk inspired industrial electronica and prog-rock traipsed dance beats. Hourglass has a modern bravado that not only enables Gahan to carry on but allows him to move on while embracing his past.
The album opens with the downbeat club vibe of “Saw Something” housing ambient electronica and elevating guitar swizzles. The industrial-fused electronica on numbers like “Kingdom,” “21 Days,” and “Deeper and Deeper” has a Brit-pop tinged punk reminiscent of Massive Attack and Underworld giving the dance beats a husky thump. The celestial sonic rings on “Miracles” are complementing with Gahan’s sleek drooling vocals. There is a spiritual rise in the song, though the club beats permeate a downcast tone. The emo-milled tides and burlesque-textured rumples of “Use You” have a showtunes style with a lot of flashy electronica and glam rock panache liken to Daft Punk. The lyrics for “Use You” reveal Gahan’s conflict with inner demons: “I’m hurting you / With everything I do / I’ve gotta get out / I’ve gotta get out soon / It’s killing me / To be in this room / I don’t belong / Belong in this place / We have each other / You are my brother / Sitting here beside you / I just wanna use you.”
The misty electronica verses on “Insoluble” emit an ethereal ambience while the warped electronica and silky synth effects on “Endless” and “A Little Lie” are hot-tempered and sleekly eloquent. The dark tones and staunch drum marches on “Down” produce plush hazes as Gahan’s languid vocals pierce through the gilded electro-pop screens. Gahan’s music has a weightless feel shrouded in downbeat ambient-pop. His use of emo, Brit-punk, and prog-rock are complementary to the electro-pop wiring in the songs. Gahan collaborated with Christian Eigner (drums) and Drew Phillport (guitar) on these songs, who were both a part of Depeche Mode’s touring band. Hourglass shows what life holds for Gahan after coming back from the dead.
This review is a user submitted review from Susan Frances. You can see all of Susan Frances's submitted reviews here.
Nice to see this reviewed here. I was not impressed by Paper Monsters, but took it graciously anyway, since I hadn't gotten any new DM/Gahan/Gore in a while, and it would tide me over until Playing the Angel came out. It's nice to get a quite good DM album a couple years back, followed up by a solo Gahan that is MUCH better than Paper Monsters.
Now we just need them working on another DM album.