Few synth-pop bands were as dark and subversive as Depeche Mode during its hey day. The enigmatic British act was one of the finer singles acts of the '80s. For every innocuous hit, such as “Enjoy the Silence,” there was the catchy but sinister “Blasphemous Rumours” or the ode to greed “Everything Counts.”
There are a couple of refreshingly dark tunes on Depeche Mode's latest album, “Delta Machine,” which dropped in March.
Martin Gore's “Slow,” “The Child Inside” and “Alone” have that familiar creepiness. There's the catchiness, which has permeated much of the band's canon and there's a spark that hasn't been felt since 1990's “Violator.”
“There was a feel this time that was different,” vocalist Dave Gahan said from Austin. “It was kind of exciting and fresh. The songs really came flowing out. Everything fell into place. We went to (keyboardist) Martin's place and listened to the songs. Martin's demos were so well produced. He really worked hard and it was just like, 'I'll go sing on them.' ”
The band sounds revitalized throughout the dark “Delta Machine.” The band played an inspired but abbreviated set at South By Southwest in Austin five months ago. Depeche Mode mixed the new with their standards during their 10-song set. Expect the band to double that total of songs when it performs Saturday at the MidFlorida Amphitheatre. The veteran act has been mixing up its set list throughout its tour.
“It's difficult to put one (set list) together,” Gahan said. “There's so many tracks and so many classics. I think we whittle it down to a really good set. I think people are going to be surprised and delighted.”
It's a healthy bet that Depeche Mode fans, who are an ardent lot, will be pleased no matter what the band offers in Tampa. Depeche Mode fans are just thrilled that the band is back together. The group's future was uncertain after it put 2009's “Sounds of the Universe” to bed. Depeche Mode took a break to focus on other projects, such as VCMG (former Depeche Mode keyboardist Vince Clarke and Martin Gore) and Gahan's Soulsavers.
“It was a healthy thing for us,” Gahan said. “We needed to focus on other things and it's helped immensely. After 'Sounds of the Universe,' we were all exhausted. I find that working with other people outside has strengthened things with us in Depeche Mode. It was good to get back with this (group). It was productive and I think it'll stay that way for the future.”