Saturday, June 09, 2007

Under The Influence: Depeche Mode / The Knife

In my continuously nerdy attempt to hear every song ever recorded and know every musical fact ever, I quite often borrow or download an entire discography from a band i've never really listened to or looked into in depth. Depeche Mode are/were one of those bands, one that have always been around and are highly regarded in some circles (and of course were hugely successful at certain times), and yet maybe because of slightly snobby reasons i'd never really looked into. Anyway so the other day I was listening to their much maligned second album, 1982's A Broken Frame.

Their debut album, 81's Speak And Spell had been quite a success, mostly off the back of the Just Can't Get Enough single. However the majority of the songs on that record had been written by synth man Vince Clarke, who left soon after to start his career with Yazoo, The Assembly and eventually Erasure. This meant that frontman Martin Gore was forced to take the helm and to quickly write all of the songs for the followup. The band admit that it wasn't the best second album they could have written, and today no songs from it remain in the bands setlists. However I thought it was quite interesting; yes it was still a little too cheesey and underdeveloped, but the hints of dark synth action and more layered compositional skill are starting to come out, and here and there you find a few really nice tracks. The best is probably My Secret Garden, a synth heavy track that I suddenly realised completely reminded me of certain songs by The Knife.

I suppose it goes to show that even the most obscure or critically ignored records by rather unhip bands can still influence acts and albums that are held up as the very hippest; The Knife's Silent Shout of course being picked as Pitchfork's album of 2006. I wasn't sure exactly which Knife song the synth lines reminded me of, I think it's more of a general feeling you get from them, so I thought i'd just put up a few songs to demonstrate the similarity and just to get us all a reminder of how damn good that Knife album really is. Enjoy!

Depeche Mode - My Secret Garden
The Knife - Like A Pen
The Knife - Silent Shout


Anonymous toby said...

along with depeche mode, another direct (or indirect) influence on the knife are the first two clan of xymox albums.

3:45 am, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the time, the early singles off "A Broken Frame" didn't really speak of major letdown with the changes in the band (OK, "See You" was pretty good, better than "Meaning Of Love"). Always loved the cover (as a 12"). And "The Sun & The Rainfall" is a really great early, slow songs - still one of my favorites.

3:22 am, June 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good old 80's music!


4:37 pm, June 23, 2007  

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