Rolling Stone - p.664 stars out of 5
-- "The warped, guitar-heavy rock-gospel holds up smashingly....In fact, this might be the band's most underrated masterpiece."
Spin - 5/93, p.80
Highly Recommended - "...[filled with] dewy-eyed spirituality....maybe this album won't empty bedrooms and fill church pews with suddenly fulfilled Mode fans, but it proves that the devil doesn't always have the best tunes..."
Entertainment Weekly - 3/26/93, p.78
"...For tortured suburban youth, this is what thinking-teen's pop is supposed to sound like..." - Rating: B
Q - 1/94, p.85
Included in Q's list of 'The 50 Best Albums Of 1993' - "...entertains notions of vastness and architectural majesty...Dave Gahan's most mature, invigorating vocal performance thus far...."
Q - 4/93, p.784 Stars
- Excellent - "...a resolute continuation of the mature experimental pop principles of VIOLATOR....thoughtful and dignified..."
NME (Magazine) - 3/20/93, p.32
8 - Excellent - "...an album that every sane person should own....Depeche Mode are much too interesting to avoid now that they are grown up..."
Depeche Mode: Martin Gore (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, keyboards, synthesizer); Alan Wilder (keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming); Andrew Fletcher (keyboards, synthesizer).
Additional personnel: Steafan Hannigan (Uilleann pipes); Bazil Meade, Hildia Cambell, Samantha Smith (background vocals).
Engineers: Steve Lyon, Chris Dickie, Paul Kendall.
SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION - LIVE features songs from the studio version in the same sequence.
Depeche Mode: Martin Gore (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, synthesizer); David Gahan (vocals); Alan Wilder (keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Andrew Fletcher (keyboards, synthesizer).
Additional personnel: Hildia Campbell, Samantha Smith (background vocals).
Recorded live in Copenhagen, Denmark; Milan, Italy; Lievin, France; New Orleans, Louisiana.
Personnel: Samantha Smith, Basil Meade, Hildia Cambell (vocals); Steafan Hannigan (Uilleann pipe).
Audio Mixers: Depeche Mode; Flood; Mark "Spike" Stent.
Recording information: Hamburg (02/1992-01/1993); Hamburg, Chateau du Pape (02/1992-01/1993); Madrid, Spain (02/1992-01/1993).
Depeche Mode's tenth album, SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION, finds the band reinventing itself somewhat. Not that it'd been exactly treading water, but its last several albums had explored and refined a particular aesthetic of dark lyrical themes and minor-key synthesizer atmospherics.
However, in 1993's grunge era, lyrical mopeyness was endemic and keyboards were rapidly becoming out of date. Wisely, Depeche Mode sought to change both elements of its music, not just one. Incorporating guitars--most notably on the oddly blues-derived "I Feel You"--and other instruments into its songs was a canny move, but the stroke of genius is in Martin Gore's lyrics, which largely abandon the bleakness of the band's more recent work in favor of cautious optimism and spiritual questions. In an age of irony, the real surprise was that this album's title was not particularly ironic.