A frighteningly intuitive collaboration
Familiar ground for Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, but a perilously dark move for his old ’80s-era bandmate, pop god Vince Clarke, this foray into hardboiled purist-techno is all about merging their opposing skillsets – the middle ground being a stern but playful combination of caustic menace and bright hooks. Stubbornly instrumental (the focus is on detail and discipline), ‘SSSS’ veers from the nightmarish (‘Lowly’) to hard-jackin’ electro (‘Windup Robot’) to industrial, in the shape of ‘Single Blip’. The only constant: danceability. Ever-evolving and beautifully streamlined, this is a frighteningly intuitive collaboration for two men who haven’t spoken in over 30 years.