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Ultra
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Album: Ultra
# Song Title   Time
1)    Barrel of a Gun
2)    Love Thieves, The
3)    Home
4)    It's No Good
5)    Uselink
6)    Useless
7)    Sister of Night
8)    Jazz Thieves
9)    Freestate
10)    Bottom Line, The
11)    Insight
12)    Junior Painkiller [Hidden Track]
 
Album: Ultra
# Song Title   Time
1)    Barrel of a Gun
2)    Love Thieves, The
3)    Home
4)    It's No Good
5)    Uselink
6)    Useless
7)    Sister of Night
8)    Jazz Thieves
9)    Freestate
10)    Bottom Line, The
11)    Insight
12)    Junior Painkiller [Hidden Track]
 
Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Depeche Mode: Andrew Fletcher, David Gahan, Martin Gore.
  • Additional personnel: B.J. Cole (pedal steel guitar); Doug Wimbish (bass); Keith LeBlanc, Gota Yashiki (drums); Danny Cummings, Victor Endrizzio, Jaki Liebezeit (percussion); Daniel Miller.
  • Personnel: David Clayton (keyboards, keyboard programming); Kerry Hopwood (programming).
  • Audio Mixers: Q; Paul Conboy.
  • Recording information: Abbey Road, London; Eastcote, London; Electric Lady, New York; Larrabee West, Los Angeles; RAK Studios, London; Strongroom, London; Westcote, London.
  • Photographer: Anton Corbijn.
  • With Alan Wilder now gone, ULTRA is Depeche Mode's first album as a trio. But in many ways it marks a return to form for the band. Producer Tim Simenon gives ULTRA a rich, lush sound that rejects the straight-ahead rock and analog experimentation of VIOLATOR and SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION. Instead, ULTRA moves deftly between the sparseness of Depeche Mode's legendary early work and the complex, hard-edged sounds the band came to experiment with. The wide dynamic range allows for seamless interplay between thick, atmospheric keyboards; snaking intertwining programming lines; and an expansive palette of guitar textures.
  • "The Bottom Line" features a blend of sweet pedal-steel guitar (played by session great B.J. Cole) and plaintive, soaring synth sounds alongside two DM trademarks: ominous, low-end synth and David Gahan's reverb-soaked baritone. "Barrel Of A Gun" is driven by raspy distorted vocals and a wild, throbbing backing track. "It's No Good," with its insistent hook hidden in bitter industrial longing, gives the band its deftest pop song in almost a decade. For all that this band has picked up in 17 years, it hasn't forgotten where it came from.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (5/1/97, pp.53-54) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...Songwriter Martin Gore has plenty of dark passion to document....moody, pulsating ballads such as `The Bottom Line' and `The Love Thieves' are ideal vehicles for Gahan's brooding baritone and for the band's ever-increasing sense of tender intuition..."

Spin - "'Barrel of a Gun' is classic Depeche Mode: down-plus tempo; Gahan's tortured baritone squeezing the lemon of Martin Gore's teeny-bop, S&M lyrics; guitars, synths, and drum machines deliberately emasculated like so much ground meat."

Spin (5/97, pp.110-111) - (6 out of 10) - "...Simeon's pristine production...fits Depeche Mode's need to conceal their age in sleekness. Rather than co-opt drum'n'bass, they do what they've done since VIOLATOR: merge machine aesthetics and corporate machinery into a punkishly forbidding indolence..."

Entertainment Weekly (4/18/97, p.66) - "..combines up-to-the-second synth effects...with ripping melodies--all supported by the grim sonic architecture that long ago made DM the darlings of many a sour teen. Imposing spires of synths, industrial rivets of percussion, churchy organs, and grave vocals erect an edifice of reverent dread..." - Rating: B+

Q (1/98, p.112) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1997."

Q (5/97, p.118) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...ranks alongside...BLACK CELEBRATION as their darkest album to date....dry, dislocated, burnt-out and sometimes beautiful songwriting....Gone are the big, roguishly aggressive hooks, replaced by industrialised trip-hop beats...and widescreen spaces..."
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