Review: 'Depeche Mode: Monument' is the definitive guide to the band and a must have for fans
Photo courtesy of Akashic books

 

In 1980, four young boys from Basildon, Essex teamed up to form Depeche Mode. 37 years later, they’re one of the biggest bands in the world. The band has come a long way since the days of singing sugary new wave hits with plenty of highs and lows to boot. Their extraordinary career along with their stellar discography is captured in Depeche Mode: Monument, by Dennis Burmeister and Sascha Lange.

First released in 2013, updated version follows the band up until their most recent album, Spirit, and also looks at their solo projects. The massive book isn’t a band biography that goes deep into their history. Rather it’s a detailed look back at their releases hitting the big moments from their career – Vince Clarke leaving, major success, the departure of Alan Wilder – along the way.  

The highlight of the book are the photos from the author’s personal collection. They range from multiple pressing of singles to rare colored vinyl. Fans will most enjoy seeing the odd promo items sent by record companies, like a compact mirror to promote the single “See You.” Flipping through this treasure trove of rare items any Depeche Mode fan would love to get their hands on, makes you yearn for the old days of promotion. Emails with attachments and streaming links don’t have the same charm.

Also included are interviews with those who have worked with the band, like longtime roadie Daryl Bamonte, Anne Haffmans, and Mute label founder Daniel Miller who first signed them in 1980. While some of the interviews are dull and detract from the book, especially since they’re placed in the middle of album chapters, some are in-depth and provide a great insight to the band and their success.

Special attention is given to East and West Germany in the 80s and Depeche Mode’s rise to fame in the country. The writers speak to fans who recount how hard it was to get music, albums, and even posters of their favorite band into the country. Strict regulations and regime made it almost impossible, which is something we take for granted today. Learning how the band’s music, style, and early socialist motif influenced these fans. We also get a brief history of the Depeche Mode fan club and bootlegs.

Depeche Mode: Monument is a must have for fans and collectors. This is a book made by fans for fans. It’s a beautiful retrospective on Depeche Mode’s successful career. It’s obviously crafted with love and admiration for the band making it stand out from the run of the mill biographies. The careful attention to detail, rare photos, and fan stories make it the definitive Depeche Mode book.