"I feel this record has been an amazing opportunity to push the artist in me," says Dave Gahan
of his second album Hourglass
, due October 23 via Mute/Virgin Records. The record follows the Depeche Mode
front man's acclaimed 2003 solo albut Paper Monsters
that marked his debut as a full-fledged songwriter.
The album's first single-- the soaring and pulsating "Kingdom"-- hit radio waves August 27. "It's this idea that there's a better place, and it's not up there in the clouds, it's right here," says Gahan. "And it's about becoming more accepting of life and the way it is. I would be lying if I said the world didn't affect me. I have children and I want to protect them; and sometimes I don't really have the ability to do that."
Gahan wrote and produced all the songs on Hourglass
--decidedly more electronic than Paper Monsters
-- in collaboration with Christian Eigner (drums) of Depeche Mode's touring band and Andrew Phillpott (guitars), who served as a programr for Depeche Mode touring. Tony Hoffer, known for his work with Beck
, The Kooks
and The Fratellis
, mixed the album.
, Eigner proves a strikingly versatile drummer, creating gentle rhythmic ambiance one moment, and thundering, freight-train beats the next. And with electronics providing most of the musical environment of Hourglass, Phillpott's guitar playing roams freely into fantastical atmospherics, especially evident on "Kingdom."
What might surprise Gahan followers most are the album's moments of exhilarating industrial aggression, as in the blistering, hyper-sexual "Deeper and Deeper." Perhaps more importantly for the singer, Hourglass
is a journey of the soul. In "Kingdom" he confesses that "Glory doesn't mean that much to me" while wondering aloud if there really is something beyond what we can see with our own eyes--a superstar struggling to find a humbler self within him. And his personal doubts are in full evidence on the ethereal, Eno
-esque "Miracles" where he admits, "I don't believe in Jesus / But I'm praying anyway."
With its themes of racing against-- and running out of-- time, the songs on Hourglass
dig deeper into Gahan's psyche.
"I don't know if it's about age, just getting older," he wonders. "But there are certain things that just don't work anymore. There's no longer the luxury of being able to get blind drunk every night and just hide behind that. My fear is that I've wasted so much time in fear, in fear of diving in. I feel like I'm racing against the clock; I feel constantly like I haven't got enough time to get to where I wanna be. And I think what I'm afraid of is what the future may hold, and am I doing anything of meaning?"
1) Saw Something
3) Deeper And Deeper
4) 21 Days
6) Use You
9) A Little Lie