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Depeche Mode: Monument – Book Review

By Dennis Burmeister & Sascha Lange
Akashic Books

Depeche Mode: MonumentGenerally coffee tables are often a monstrous pain. They are clunky, cumbersome and often leave the owner feeling somewhat lacking because there is inevitably too much or too little content.

This brings us to Monument, a massive examination of all things Depeche Mode compiled by German uber-fan and designer Burmeister along with Lange, a fellow fan and historian of youth culture. Together the tandem skillfully walks the tightrope of creating a visual representation of Depeche Mode’s work meshed with informative facts and anecdotes about their history while simultaneously giving passionate fans something special.

More than a scrapbook, it features a concise narrative beginning with their formation in Basildon to the present. Promo photos, album and singles art, press releases and concert posters are nestled alongside a straightforward profile of Depeche Mode, including their creative process for each album, concert video and tour. It also chronicles the departure of band members Vincent Clarke and Alan Wilder within the context of how it affected the band and their development. If that was not enough it also dives into their respective side projects, from Martin Gore’s solo work to Dave Gahan’s involvement in Soul Savers, Wilder’s Recoil and the old school techno collaboration of Clarke and Gore as VCMG.

Originally released in Germany, Monument is equal parts collection, recollection and affection as it chronicles the band’s origins in synth pop to their evolution as post-punk groovesters whose grimy rock driven beats have signified multiple shifts in sound and aesthetic.

Throughout their prolific career Depeche Mode has garnered a rabid fanbase eager to learn as much as they can about them. To that end the book also documents the relationship between the band and their fans via a presentation of nearly every aspect of their catalogue (albums, singles, remixes and promos).

Overall, Burmeister and Lange get the balance right with a stuffed book that goes above and beyond in pleasing both casual fans and serious collectors.