Speak And Spell – Depeche Mode (1981)

DM Speak

Mute Records STUMM5

Depeche Mode are an English band formed in 1980. Original members were David Gahan, Martin Gore, Andrew Fletcher and Vince Clarke who left the band after this debut album to form Yazoo then later Erasure.

The album was released in November 1981 after the success of the single “New Life” which managed to reach #11 in the UK charts and spend a total of 15 weeks doing so. And with the follow up single ““Just Can’t Get Enough” becoming their first UK top 10 entry reaching #8 and staying on the charts for 11 weeks. This helped towards launching this debut album.

Pentax Digital Camera

Side 1

The album begins with the single “New Life” which sets the tone for the rest of the album, up beat synth-pop driven by the keyboard sounds of Vince Clarke. The next track ” I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead” the shortest track at 2:18. “Puppets” is very much a Clarke song which wouldn’t have sounded out of place as a Yazoo track. This is more synth drums lead.

“Boys Say Go!” is another synth-pop song in the same vain, followed by my featured track “Nodisco” where there are lots of different keyboard sounds, and a catchy riff.   

Finishing the first side is what Gore and Fletcher have both stated was their least favourite Depeche Mode song of all time, “What’s Your Name?”

Pentax Digital Camera

Side 2

Side 2 opens with “Photographic” a pulsating backing track more suiting Dave Gahan’s dark vocals. “Tora!Tora!Tota!” was written by Martin Gore thus giving a slight change in style, a small piece of Kraftwerk influence can be heard. The next track also written by Gore is an Instrumental called “Big Muff” and has an urgency about it. “Any Second Now (Voices)” is a softer lead vocal with harmony back-up. Again many different synth sounds. The album closes with the classic pop song ” Just Can’t Get Enough”

Over all a good debut, but with the departure of main song writer Vince Clarke after this album, the songwriting duties were taken over by Gore, and he started to explore more darker subjects and sounds and the group took to a more rock style of production. “Speak and Spell” was recorded at Blackwing Studios, London and Produced by Daniel Miller and Depeche Mode, and Engineered by Eric Radcliffe. This record peaked at #10 in the UK and charted for 33 Weeks. It also managed international success via Sweden and Germany where the album sold upwards of 250,000 copies. It just scraped into the US Billboard 200 at #192. This album is definitely worth a listen.


About 6134Dave

Fan of music. I've been buying records, cassettes, and CD's since the mid 1970's. I'm currently converting some of my vinyl to mp3. Because of this I've been reconnecting with my music collection.
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