Religion a La Mode

PERFORMER: DEPECHE MODE

ALBUM: SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION

LABEL: MUTE/SIRE

THE BOTTOM LINE: An alternative rock band looks heavenward for inspiration and nearly finds musical salvation.

AT A TIME WHEN NEW AGE SEEMS old, postmodern seems prehistoric and the anti- Establishment energy of grunge rock is being packaged and marketed like so many Cheez Doodles, Depeche Mode's musical vision of the future already seems a thing of the past: too-cool-to-care vocals, lyrics like something off an answering machine at a suicide hotline, industrial-strength dance grooves as unforgiving as capitalism itself. In retrospect, many of the band's angst- laden hits --...

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