Depeche Mode found delivers intriguing new EP...

An individual of originality, brimming with creativity, Martin Gore always stood out, and it was clear that the songwriter and musician had something special to draw on.

For the most part, Gore’s creativity has unfolded within electronic rock giants Depeche Mode, but his solo work incorporates a decent quantity of writing, playing and producing including ‘Counterfeit’ and ‘Counterfeit 2’, and more recently ‘MG’, the extensive and acclaimed album from 2015.

From his body of work, the latter project is most closely connected to this specific release, stylistically and atmospherically. Comprising five immersive tracks, the illustrious instrumental compositions surprise and draw the listener in.

Sonically, it connects heavily with the industrial past of Depeche Mode, and the link up works a fine treat, but it is also clear that there is more on display.

Made at his home studio Electric Ladyboy in Santa Barbara, California, the EP title is a direct reference to Jared Diamond’s book ‘The Third Chimpanzee’, a work tackling the origins of human behaviour by pointing to the similarities between animal and human behaviour.

Gore explains the connection and some of the method used on his website: “I resynthesized some vocals that almost sounded human, but not quite. That’s why I decided to name the track after a monkey.”

Initially dark and staggering, sounding close to “primate-like”, the first track ‘Howler’ introduces various sound components that work to reach a climax, providing a clever intro to the overall work.

Gore’s compositions have an experimental edge, but they are more delicate, essentially reaching for melodic ground. ‘Capuchin’ is an example of that. More playful in vibe than the first two tracks, it is engrossing and seductive in equal measure, while electro-pop ‘Vervet’ is even lighter in feel.  

It’s definitely too short, but it’s worth every penny, ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ is a work of innovation and instinct, and hopefully a full album will follow in due course. In the meantime, this release is enough course to celebrate.

8/10

Words: Susan Hansen

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