It isn’t just that Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher remain upright, though that is impressive considering Gahan’s well-documented struggles with substance abuse. The real feat is that the Depeche Mode sound—obsessively constructed monoliths of synth-based, salvation-obsessed twitchiness—still feels fresh 13 albums into their career.
Delta Machine is the strongest album the group has put out this century, brushing up against the locked-in grooves of the group’s late-‘80s crest that began with 1984’s Some Great Reward and ran through the revolutionary classic Violator in 1990. Much of that credit should probably go to collaborator Christoffer Berg, who has previously worked with Swedish electro-terrorists the Knife; he lends a long-lost toughness that runs through much of Delta. Depeche Mode are the definitive synth-rock sharks: They’re survivors, and they can’t stop charging forward. — Entertainment Weekly