Release Date: October 3rd, 2019
Ever since the release of their debut album, Speak & Spell, it seems the odds have always been stacked against Depeche Mode. A month after the LP’s release, key member Vince Clarke left the band. It was a devastating blow that could’ve been the end. Instead, they persevered, but it wouldn’t be the last time they had to overcome the odds. Losing Alan Wilder and Dave Gahan’s crippling drug addiction put the band’s future in danger, but they marched onward and they’re still going strong nearly 40 years later. Ian Gittins recounts their turbulent history in his latest book Depeche Mode: Faith and Devotion.
Gittins follows the evolution of the band from new wave teeny boppers to electro-music pioneers. Featuring band quotes from past interviews, he recounts their humble beginnings, their breakthrough success, and the moments that nearly ended them on their path to international stardom all the way up to the release of their latest album, Spirit. He pays special attention to the band’s album releases and massive tours providing some insight on what was happening behind the scenes, including personal struggles such as Gore’s marriage trouble and Andy Fletcher’s depressive episodes. He also highlights the solo careers of Gore, Gahan, and Wilder.
Though Gittins does a great job retelling Depeche Mode’s story, it leaves you wanting more. This isn’t an in-depth history nor is it an analysis of their music. Rather, it’s a retrospective look at the evolution of the band. He covers the major highs and lows of their career, like their iconic show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and the release of their biggest albums. Still, it’s a book longtime and new fans Mode fans will enjoy. It’s a blast flipping through the pages and revisiting their history, but if you’re looking for something that goes deeper, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The book includes photos of Depeche Mode taken throughout their career. The mix of promo shots, live photos, and candid moments provides a great visual history of the band. The photos aren’t necessarily rare, but it’s still entertaining to see the band go through their awkward phases filled with bad haircuts, questionable fashion choices, and Gore’s BDSM inspired outfits. It’s a great reminder at just how much the band has changed throughout the course of their career.
Depeche Mode: Faith and Devotion may not offer any new insights or details about the band, but it’s still a loving celebration of their legacy. New fans will relish learning about the band’s history, while well-versed fans will enjoy looking back at their many ups and downs and the moments that got Depeche Mode where they are now. Depeche Mode now holds such a legendary status in music, it’s easy to forget how they reached this point. This book is a reminder of their difficult journey and eventually success.
Depeche Mode: Faith and Devotion is out now via Palazzo Editions.