22.10.2015 New York, Town Hall
26.10.2015 London, Shepherds Bush Empire
30.10.2015 Berlin, Tempodrom
02.11.2015 Paris, La Cigale
04.11.2015 Mailand, Fabrique
Angels & Ghosts is nothing like a Depeche Mode album in terms of atmosphere, with a dusty, sparse desert-rock sound that couldn't be less electronic. Earthiness is the gambit instead, with Gahan humming in the opening few seconds as if he's a weathered old bluesman readying his throat for an exorcism. "Shine" sets the template from the start: gritty guitar riffs, loping rhythms and a spirit that glows ("There's light here, and it shines on you") through even the darkest moods. "You Owe Me" moves even more slowly, with Gahan sounding a bit like the ghost of Jim Morrison in a trippy, menacing cantina before "Tempted" fills out around a snaky guitar part and vocal harmonizing that evokes younger guns like Sharon Van Etten and Midlake.
Most of the album revolves around a formidable mix of electric guitar and electric piano, with gospel-inspired backing vocals summoning a sense of scale that swells. "Don't Cry" calls on all the elements at a forlorn speed that allows each of the pieces to make for maximum rock drama.
There's plenty of space for Gahan to haunt with words that tip toward both loss and salvation. In "All Of This And Nothing," after equating himself with the dirt, the sun, a river and a storm, he sings, "I'm all of this and nothing" as if the chance to voice such a realization makes up for the ambiguity within it. In "One Thing," he's on to singing about "life on Mars" with a spirited sense of communion. But Earth, with all its grit and grief and grace, seems to be where he remains most at home.
Gahan said ideas for the second album had been brewing since the first was finished, but that Depeche Mode’s touring schedule kept them from fleshing them out. “I was skeptical at first because I wasn’t sure I had any good ideas at all,” Gahan told Pitchfork of going back to writing after the world tour. “You feel like that sometimes after a tour; it’s a depleted feeling like you just don’t have anything good to do anymore. You put out all that energy and the adrenaline’s flying and suddenly you’re back home with the wife and kids and you have to go get the groceries, a lot of changes.”
He added that writing Angels & Ghosts didn’t come with the weight of a Depeche Mode album. “It was a record that was made not under pressure. For example, when I’m making a record with [Depeche Mode], there are expectations that you put upon yourself before you even get started. But this was really free of that completely…”
The result is a nine-track effort that feels somehow sparser and more expansive than a Depeche Mode record. There’s a definite lack of the electronic atmosphere the iconic band is known for, but it’s been replaced with a grand scale of space in which Gahan is backed with neo-gospel vocals and dusty horns.