By Chuck Arnold Rennie Dyball
April 27, 2009 12:00 PM

Sounds of the Universe |


Depeche Mode doesn’t do much sonic exploration on Sounds of the Universe, the 12th studio album from the synth-pop pioneers. But hey, did you really want them to go country? It’s a testament to their stubbornness that, even with all those trendy retro-’80s bands out there, nobody can do a Depeche Mode song like Depeche Mode. And there are some strong ones here, led by first single “Wrong,” an industrial-edged stomper with a self-loathing lyric: “There’s something wrong with me chemically/ Something wrong with me inherently,” sings frontman Dave Gahan, making you feel his pain. Of course, with these brooding Brits, even the disc’s most uplifting moment, the dance-floor catharsis of “Peace,” comes with a goth sense of foreboding. Peace, it seems, will have to wait.