Dave Gahan & The Soulsavers – Imposter (Album Review)

If you are a fan of Depeche Mode, then you obviously know their leading voice Dave Gahan. Spending his entire career with the pioneering Electronic music band, Gahan has also released some solo material, as well as worked with the production team known as Soulsavers. Some might ask, who exactly are the Soulsavers? Well, their story goes back over 20 years when Rich Machin and Ian Glover initially teamed up as a remix team.

Putting out some interesting material together, the project has morphed through the years, and since 2012 has collaborated with Gahn, forging music together as Dave Gahan & The Soulsavers. The result of the Soulsavers touring alongside Depeche Mode, Gahan wrote for their 2012 album The Light the Dead See, rejoined them for 2015’s Angels & Ghosts, and returned with them yet again for 2021’s Imposter

Released on November 12th via Columbia Records, Imposter finds Gahn joining forces once again with musical partner Soulsavers (Rich Machin). Recorded live with a 10 member band back in November of 2019 at Shangri-La Recording Studio in Malibu, CA, the new album offers 12 new recordings that are quite atmospheric. Not originals, but covers, Gahn and company offer 12 unique takes on tunes from the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Charlie Chaplin, Mark Lanegan, plus more. 

Not just standard covers, these are 12 songs that moved Gahn the most. So even though this album is not written by him, it is still a very personal one and gives you a very intimate insight into who he is as a person. It begins with a beautiful, deep rendition of James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street” before a slow, melancholic recording of Mark Laenegan’s “Strange Religion.” This mood follows for Eartha Kitt’s  “Lilac Wine” before a psychedelic, intense ride with Elmore James’ “I Held My Baby Last Night.”

Later on there is a somber, yet beautiful recording of Neil Young’s “A Man Needs a Maid” which sounds like a candle in the darkness, or like when hope meets despair. Then there is Cat Power’s “Metal Heart” featuring a heart melting, beautiful melody, the heavy Rowland S. Howard track “Shut Me Down,” and a surprising take on Nat King Cole’s “Smile.” Not to be overlooked, Gahn delivers Gene Clark’s “Where My Love Lies Asleep” smoothly, PJ Harvey’s “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” in rocking fashion, and Bob Dylan’s’ “Not Dark Yet” with some brilliant arrangements. Ending it all is probably the most recognized song of all, “Always On My Mind,” originally recorded by Gwen McCrae, and it is masterfully executed. 

Imposter takes you on a ride through music history and each song digs deep under your skin. Along with Gahan’s almost melodramatic voice, the songs all carry a certain heaviness wit them. Forty-seven minutes of love songs, some more heartbreaking than others, Dave Gahan creates a perfect soundtrack for a dark night by the fireplace with a good wine in hand. A delightful listen, Cryptic Rock gives Imposter 4 out of 5 stars. 

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