Over the summer, the Campus Times office has a tendency to accrue review copies of compact discs. Sometimes it takes us a while to wade through them all.

While I’ve listened to a few this week, I’m just going to focus on one specifically.

An album which was towards the bottom of the pile was “Paper Monsters,” a solo effort from the frontman of Depeche Mode.

Depeche Mode is famous for a number of singles, two of which I would recommend – “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus.”

That, however, is neither here nor there, because this is not a Depeche Mode album, this is Dave Gahan.

Most of the time when I hear an artist’s solo endeavor, after being familiar with the band he was formerly with, I kind of wish he’d stuck with the band.

That didn’t happen with “Monsters,” partially because I was never too familiar with Depeche Mode, and partially because this album is really solid.

The opening track, “Dirty Sticky Floors,” got me into the groove of the album immediately. “Monsters” has a bit of a soft feel throughout, and it is nice to get eased into it at the beginning.

It felt good to listen to this nice and mellow album, especially when I was expecting a relative dud. Gahan’s voice is soothing, and the music underscores the quiet strength of his voice.

The album flows so well, I hardly noticed the track changes, which isn’t to say that it is repetitive, merely well orchestrated.

The track “Black and Blue Again” in particular is so mellow it’s easy to forget you are listening to it.

The album takes a turn for the worse at the song “Bitter Apple,” which is more tiring to listen to than anything else.

Other than that, the album is good. Not great, just much better than you would expect.

My warning – don’t buy this album expecting the sounds of Depeche Mode.

On the other hand, this album is hundreds of times better than you’d expect an album by a former frontman for a medium-popular ’80s band.

Or maybe it’s exactly as good as you’d expect it to be, in which case, you are a better judge of who will make good music than I am.

And that was the cream of the crop. I listened to six or seven other albums, some of which were too horrendous to even finish one track of, others of which were just as good or bad as I would expect.

So I dub this week the week of surprisingly good music, and you should all listen to the album “Paper Monsters,” or at least a couple of Dave Gahan tracks.

Powell can be reached at lpowell@campustimes.org.



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