Goth Electro Tribute To Depeche Mode

Various Artists

Cleopatra Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


"Goth Electro" is exactly what this album is, unfortunately.

This record is a tribute by the underground goth community to Depeche Mode, a band that has fueled the musical careers of so many of these anti-socials. Though DM has become a major influence in shaping today's synth-goth music scene, it is not essentially a "goth" outfit per se. Its tunes, dark and burdened with discomfort, are never too dismally suicidal or manically depressed to be actually called "gothic."

But this collection of songs is gothic, and that's the problem with it. The fabricated bleakness of these alternate interpretations of DM classics is twice as gothic, but not half as melancholic or affecting. The excessive gloom is simply wasted on desecrating the great DM numbers that inspired these covers.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With the exception of a few, most of the bands on Goth Electro have tried to "gothify" DM numbers, and have completely destroyed the true essence of what the originals are. For example, the beautifully simple "But Not Tonight" in all its humanness is turned into a goth-fest, with its dismally over-produced vocals that fade in and out, and lack the kind of yearning on the original song that is made so human by Dave Gahan's vocals. The same is with the semi-upbeat "Get The Balance Right;" the overly dark version doesn't do any justice to the original at all, and makes listening to it a painful experience.

There are quite a few bands on this record that take this desecration to another level altogether. For instance, "Everything Counts" and "Lie To Me" sound horribly remixed, with unnecessary adornments in the form of classy club-beats and synth embellishments added to them, which completely engulf the earnestness of the originals. "Enjoy The Silence" suffers the worst insult of all on this record; first, it has been turned into a cheesy 90's techno number in the manner mentioned above. In addition, its magnificent words are never sung on this version. Amid the brutal electro-barrage, all this rendition has that even nearly resembles the original is the unforgettable tune that plays -- in a seedy 90's trance-music fashion -- throughout the duration of the song, and is the only form of recognition of this badly raped track.

In this album of terrible covers, there are a few tracks that do offer some saving grace. The cover of "Policy Of Truth" by DISOWN, laden with guitar hooks, transforms a techno cut to a rock number, and though still gothic, sounds refreshingly different from the rest of the album. The covers of "Stripped" (Shiny Toy Guns) and "Never Let Me Down Again" (Switchblade Symphony) are different form the rest of the album too, since there is no untoward attempt to douse these tracks into unwanted gloominess.

Covering a track is an art in its own and a great cover changes the appearance of the song, without destroying its essence; a cover is just a re-interpretation, not a surgery. Goth Electro is a great example of how an album of covers should not be done. This album is not recommended, especially for DM fans, as not listening will save them some humiliation.

Rating: F

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© 2006 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cleopatra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.