Review of Paper Monsters Album by Dave Gahan

Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters

Get Real Player Get Windows Media Player
Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters (released 02.06.03)

After 22 years of fronting Depeche Mode Dave Gahan has finally struck out alone, albeit temporarily, and recorded his solo debut album. He has roped in multi instrumentalist friend Knox Chandler to deal with the fiddly bits, leaving himself free to concentrate on the misery.

At the end of the nineties Gahan won his battle against drug addiction and thisfight against his demons infuses ‘Paper Monsters’. Ten songs of defiantdesperation highlight his self-inflicted pain, on ‘Dirty Sticky Floors’ Gahanoffers what is perhaps an all too familiar image: “I’ll soon be lyingon my own; On some dirty sticky floor”. A good choice as the first single,it is the most up-tempo song on the album, with strong guitar inflections fromChandler.

Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters @

‘Bottle Living’ covers similar lyrical ground albeit written as a second hand account: “Living for the bottle; There’s no light on in his eyes; How heavy are the lies; Just jumped right out his skin.” The song hints at a Doors influence, with its blues guitar and harmonica, Gahan playing the role of the cyborg Morrison.

However, these tracks are not representative of the album as a whole, which is based around understated electronica and Gahan’s powerful vocals. Thesefeatures combine to enchanting effect on ‘Hold On’, which is a beautifulballad reminiscent of U2, if they had shackled The Edge.

The minimalism does not always inspire such gems, with the album as a whole curiouslyunengaging, but then again I could never understand the appeal of Depeche Mode.Existing fans should delight in an album that provides all the funereal desolationthat you could desire.

Gavin Eves