Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: American musician Brian Hazard has been active as Color Theory since the late 90s. One of his main sources of inspiration is Depeche Mode and so in 2003 he released the album “Depeche Mode” as an ode to his idols and covered eleven songs from the Synth-Pop icons. There also was one original song by Color Theory featured. The album means a lot to the artist and got a very good response so it got a re-issue with a new artwork plus three extra covers.
Content: How much cover albums, tributes etc have been devoted to Depeche Mode? The specificity of this work is that Brian Hazard didn’t exactly choose for the hits of the band. The die-hard fans will for sure recognize all of the songs, but a song like “Surrender” (which originally appeared as B-side) is not exactly the most common and successful song of Depeche Mode. Color Theory reworked the different songs into a very own approach, still Electro-Pop driven, but very intimate and sung in a fragile way. Some songs are into pure Ballad style while others have something raw and even unpolished. The bonus cuts are more familiar songs.
+ + + : Covering Depeche Mode always remains a true challenge and not many versions are ‘better’ than the original songs. Color Theory doesn’t simply emulate Depeche Mode, but tried transposing the song into a very personal mould while holding on to the melody lines and some arrangements, but accomplished with totally different sound treatments. One of the best cuts however appears to be the original color Theory-song (cf. “Ponytail Girl”). Among the covers I especially recommend “Sister Of Night”, “But Not Tonight” for its happy Ballad-style and “Leave In Silence”, which sounds a bit raw.
– – – : The best way to enjoy this compilation is to forget Depeche Mode for a while, but how can we forget the original edit of songs like “It Doesn’t Matter”, “Sweetest Perfection”, “World Full Of Nothing”, “Shake The Diseases” or “Sometimes”. And how can we disconnect from Dave Gahan’s unique timbre of voice while hearing Brian Hazard who sings a more febrile and in a less powerful way?
Conclusion: This compilation is nothing more than a sincere and humble ode to Depeche Mode, which reminds us of the unique status of the Gods of Synth-Pop music.
Best songs: “Ponytail Girl”, “Leave In Silence”, “Shake The Disease”.