Martin Gore has long been known as the songwriting core of Depeche Mode, having taken over that role after Vince Clarke left the band after one album in the very early 1980s. The division of labor for the group was fairly clear: Gore wrote the music, Dave Gahan sang, and Andy Fletcher was akin to an in-house manager, and while they all played instruments, it was often a fourth member or a guest producer who filled out the sound. When I interviewed the group for a 1993 article, that delineation of duties became apparent as I spoke separately with each member of the band.
But Gore is about to, thankfully, confuse matters with the release of a rare thing: a solo album, and all the more interesting a solo album on which he doesn’t sing at all. The instrumental set, with the title MG, has been teased with a promising sample track, “Europa Hymn.” In some ways, it feels like a period piece, like at any moment an early Depeche Mode peer like Cyndi Lauper might start intoning — the chimes and playful bloops are straight out of her songbook. But listen past the melodic material and there is great attention to detail, especially in the sparse pneumatic clatter that serves as its beat.