DAVE GAHAN "PAPER MONSTERS" REVIEW
The first sound that greets you, when popping Dave Gahan's "Paper
Monsters" in the CD player is a filtered guitar loop,
which soon slides into the banging lead single "Dirty
Sticky Floors". The up-tempo track features some nice
electronic basslines and drumpatterns, and with
some catchy "woo hoo's" this is bound to be a crowd-pleaser
on his forthcoming summer tour. "Dirty Sticky Floors"
could have been a Depeche track, albeit one of
the happier ones.
Up next is the tender track "Hold On",
which is remini-scent of Depeche's "When The Body Speaks".
The vocal performance is very gentle, very relaxed. Maybe even a little
too relaxed. It's a bold second track, that threatens to slowly lul
the listener to sleep. Those who do 'hold on' and stay awake
will soon discover the albums third track.
"A Little Piece" is another slow track, with an intro
that could have been taken from Depeche Mode's "Music For The Masses"
album. Morse code, brooding bass and a throbbing heart-beat type sound.
The track is beautifully arranged, with great strings, acoustic guitar and
something that sounds like a grand piano - all the way through accompanied
by the underlying heartbeat bass.
With a few tender moments now behind him, Dave ventures into an electro-glam-rock
anthem of monster proportions. Starting off with a gruff groan from mr Gahan,
"Bottle Living" sounds very Depeche - like a
nice blend of Dead Of Night and Personal Jesus, with a splash of Jim Morrison
for good measure. This track is a favourite at d-m.com, and Pete will be
mighty peeved if this is not the opening for Dave's forthcoming shows.
"Black And Blue Again", the albums fifth track,
is a slow builder. Starts out very moody, and slowly grows rocky and in
your face. Comparing it to DM's "In Your Room", might be a stretch
but it's probably the closest you'll get in the Mode back catalogue. Towards
a background of fierce drumming and David Arnold like strings, Dave claims
to be "Not Very Nice"! Fair enough, Dave, but this track certainly
is very nice!
The lullaby/love song, "Stay", is a tender and beautiful track,
that once again reminds yours truly of "When The Body Speaks"
and maybe "Goodnight Lovers" - it's another slow track, and following
two kick ass tracks it serves it's purpose as a nice little breather. The
track is soon forgotten though, as the electrobeat of "I Need
You" kicks in. A very synth-y track, and without a doubt the
most electronic track on the album. We're still debating whether the lyrics
are a bit naïve or not, but regardless, this track is an absolute joy.
Musically its mid tempo, synth bass line and has odd DM sounding percussion.
Time for another slow one. "Bitter Apple" has
some really nice vocal arrangements and is very beautifully executed. Very
mellow orchestral track. Lyrically intrigueing - could the bitter apple
be a drug? A girl? A cup of coffee? A favourite late night snack, perhaps?
We're not sure… yet!
Time for the albums absolutely best track. "Hidden Houses"
is a cool, rocky tune in the vein of Placebo and The Cure. Great, great,
GREAT bass, fantastic instrumentation and a nice drive. This track just
feels right, and sets the album up nicely for a cool finish. Hard to pin-point
what makes this track unique. It just fits… in many ways. The album
could have finished here, but why end it now, when you've got another good
one up the sleeve? "Goodbye" is a slow, sleazy,
depressing (in a cool way), track that simply oozes of atmosphere. The track
could have been produced by Massive Attack - it has that kinda brooding,
dark electro feel to it. Loads of backwards playing going on too. About
4 something minutes into the song it goes all out rock, like a final burst
of desperate energy and then back down again. Great way to finish the album off!
All in all, we're more than happy with the album. A few too many ballads
perhaps, but the songs that do have some bollocks to them more than make
up for it. It will be interesting to see how these songs transfer into the
live setting. Our guess is that those who were whining about about a slow
patch during the Exciter Tour will once again be moaning, while others will
be jumping with joy.