Exciter - Depeche Mode
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Mellow, dramatic and bathed in atmosphere, Exciter is the sound of a band at the height of its powers.
  2. Lyrical gloom aside, though, 'Exciter' sounds like a band not just revitalised but reassembled from scratch. Not many long-running groups could make an album this fresh and confident in their 20th year, never mind one which bridges timeless soulman crooning and underground techno.
  3. What makes this disc so intriguing is its embracing of the latest electronic substrata within the context of chief songwriter Martin Gore's well-crafted pop tunes. [#155, p.67]
  4. Longtime fans will no doubt be initially thrown by the lack of "motorik" beats and general rock action here. Yet after a couple of listens, many of Exciter's songs begin to worm their way into the subconscious.
  5. 70
    Though not in the same league as Some Great Reward or Violator, Exciter is a solid effort and refreshing reminder of the variety of pop music.
  6. Exciter glimmers like a gentle ambient doodle with vocals: The beats are mostly minimal, closer to early Kraftwerk than to current electronica. But because Gore's songwriting is so focused and Gahan's vocal presence is so commanding, the softest songs leap to the foreground like a whisper from a lover.
  7. An emotionally exhausting, sometimes excellent album.
  8. Two things hold the set together: Mark Bell's quirky, other-worldly production and Dave Gahan's still-haunting voice, which has never been more agile.
  9. Bell's subtle, inventive knob-twiddling pairs perfectly with Martin Gore's new batch of somber, subdued songs.
  10. It's just, well, it's just another Depeche Mode album -- a solid near-hour's worth of moody, darkly insidious tunes about such time-honored topics as love, death, and pain... and love and death.
  11. Producer Mark Bell smartly leaves the retro melodies intact, while decorating them with experimental, electronic gloss. [8 June 2001, p.76]
  12. The electronics are intact, but rather than rely on monitors and keyboards to produce familiar sounds, Depeche Mode lifts its chin and puts vocals first for some surprisingly taut techno-balladry.... Still, old habits are hard to break, and "Exciter" carries a couple of ill-advised indulgences.
  13. 'Exciter' stakes a hell of a claim on bringing Depeche Mode into the 21st century.
  14. 60
    Without the dread, the songs can come across without drama.
  15. From a production standpoint, the record sounds great, but at its core, it comes up empty, lacking a solid foundation of good songs to rest its adventurous studio trickery upon.... It's the most frustrating type of album there is-- one that's full of promise and shining moments, but never fully delivers.
  16. For the first time in a long time, one can actually listen to David Gahan's lyrics. Indeed, on Exciter, he has rarely sounded less moronic.
  17. David Gahan, is in excellent voice throughout, whispering and cooing delicately into the mike in a way that is really quite rewarding.... It's what he's given to sing is where the problem lies.
  18. 50
    Exciter is basically a vehicle for Martin Gore's increasingly formulaic songs... [June 2001, p.155]
  19. In fact Gahan, whose ill health hampered the making of Ultra, has rarely sound more potent. This time it's Martin Gore who's out of puff. No amount of fashionable tweaking can hide the flimsiness of his offerings...
  20. Like nearly any DM record, Exciter, their 14th album, mostly leaves one hungry for the inevitable remixes.

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