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Originally published March 25, 2013 at 7:54 AM | Page modified March 25, 2013 at 10:10 AM

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Review: Depeche Mode evolves, doesn't violate past

Depeche Mode, "Delta Machine" (Columbia Records)

Associated Press

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Depeche Mode, "Delta Machine" (Columbia Records)

If you haven't caught up with Depeche Mode since "Catching up With Depeche Mode" or other collections from the band's 1980s and early `90s heyday of synthesizer-drenched, impossibly addictive pop, it's time to check in.

The British modern rock trio's 13th studio album, "Delta Machine," presents a group that's older, wiser and evolving. There's not, at least on initial listens, an abundance of hooks. While the ear-candy quotient might be lower than on records of yore, the result encourages - and often rewards - deeper listening.

The men who once made many music fans fear the demise of the guitar have become masters of their electronic machines - in part by recognizing when less is more. The spare, industrial start of "Welcome to My World" gives way to the strains of choral string sounds in a section that sonically and lyrically recalls 1990's "World in My Eyes." "Broken" opens with disjointed, tinny sounds that retreat to the background and provide a discordant twist to an otherwise catchy, straightforward chorus.

Other standouts include the more traditionally modal "Secret to the End," with a theatrical lead vocal by frontman Dave Gahan, and the bluesy, snaky "Slow."

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Follow Jeff Karoub on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffkaroub

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