An 80's pioneer, Depeche Mode has successfully reinvented itself and increased its credibility in the 90's, while fellow bands such as SIMPLE MINDS or THE CURE have slowly fallen into the murky depth of memory. The Basildon Four offer a sort of legacy with this singles album.
Everything starts up in the rev of Stripped's engine in 1986, the first creative turn of the band that until then was known only for a fistful of primitive singles with fizzy sounds like People are People & Just Can't Get Enough.
With Black Celebration, DEPECHE MODE developed a new dark and tormented image with more complex and inventive songwriting. The following pop-y and less interesting Music for the Masses certainly reached the masses with Never Let me Down.
While the rest of the world became initiated to the promise of mass Electronica with House and Techno, the band then took the opposite direction, inserting slide guitars (a symbol of rustic Country Music) into its synthetic sound. As a result they deliver the salvationist Personal Jesus on Violator, and later on Songs of Faith & Devotion with bluesy rock I feel You. This was also the time of David Gahan's crucifixion as a rock star, finally abandonning his computer geek image for a trashy druggie one, what would result in the departure of their sound architect Alan Wilder.
Finally, their greatest achievement, Ultra, is ultimate mutation of the band, with a good balance of electronica, guitars and redemption on tracks such as Barrel of a Gun and Useless
More than a compilation of catchy singles (A Question of Time, Behind the Wheel, Enjoy the Silence), this album
emphasizes the unique identity of this avant-garde band, that has been so influencial to the explosion of electronic music.