'Speak and Spell' was released on this day (October 5th) in 1981.
Today marks 37 years since synth-pop legends Depeche Mode unveiled their debut album 'Speak and Spell' on Mute Records. Co-produced by Mute founder Daniel Miller, it reached number 10 in the UK charts in 1981 and is the only one to feature original member Vince Clarke.
Depeche Mode - Speak and Spell
The album title is in reference to the electronic toy of the same name popular in the late seventies to early eighties, and it's certainly appropriate for the upbeat, frivolous feel of the record created by Vince Clarke, who would later go on to form such projects as Yazoo and Erasure.
Clarke was the primary songwriter for the group so, naturally, later records were markedly different as Martin Gore took over. But Depeche Mode ended up achieving peak success as they developed a much darker edge on albums like 'Violater', 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' and 'Ultra'.
Ironically, it was the very things that the album was praised for by critics that the band would go on to eschew; the cheerful tone, the silliness, the 'easy-pop' aesthetic - though they never lost their ability to fill a dancefloor no matter how sombre the songwriting got.
While 'Speak and Spell' remains a stand-out record, it's understandably not the band's favourite. Both Gore and Andy Fletcher confessed that track 6, 'What's Your Name?', happened to be their least favourite Depeche Mode song of all time during a 'Popworld' interview in 2005.
The most recognisable track from the record is, of course, 'Just Can't Get Enough' which was also their first video. The song would famously be covered by British-Irish girl group The Saturdays for Comic Relief in 2009. 'New Life' was another popular song, and would be their breakthrough hit in the UK.
In July this year, Depeche Mode completed the third European leg of their 'Global Spirit Tour', supporting the release of their 2017 album 'Spirit'.