Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See (album) (V2)

‘The Light The Dead See’ is the fourth studio album from U.K. production team Rich Machin and Ian Glover, otherwise known as ‘Soulsavers’ . Their 2009 album ‘Broken’ featured the vocal talents of Mark Lanegan while this album sees none other than Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan taking over vocal duties.

Immaculately produced, coated in lush strings, rich pianos, gospel choirs and even harmonica (see final song ‘Tonight’), there are no two ways about it, ‘The Light The Dead See’ is a soul record – sonically, spiritually, musically and lyrically. Although dark and fractured (what did you expect with Dave Gahan’s involvement?) the overall message is one of hope and redemption.

The album is characterized by its “Gospel” quality and would also sit very comfortably in the Depeche Mode catalogue. In fact, it needs to be said that ‘The Light The Dead See’ sounds very much like ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’ era Depeche Mode.

The album’s first single ‘Longest Day’ is the most “up-tempo” song on the record and boasts just how well this Dave Gahan and Soulsavers collaboration works; the production, strong vocal hooks, and songwriting skills combining and complimenting one another perfectly.

‘Presence of God’ is a stand out track and what could be considered the centerpiece of the album with Gahan singing “I can feel the presence of God occupying my intentions in my soul, within my thoughts and in ways to dreary to mention. These thoughts torment me, they mould and shape me”. The music that accompanies Gahan’s vocal is of course suitably dark and made up of acoustic guitars and lush, orchestral strings.

The majority of ‘The Light The Dead See’ travels along at one tempo, however there is a definite shuffle to the songs that manage to keep things moving along. On ‘Just Try’, ‘Gone Too Far’ and ‘Bitterman’ the acoustic guitar becomes the primary instrument and demonstrate that production aside, at its core, ‘The Light The Dead See’ is an album of world-class songwriting.

‘Take Me Back Home’ further encapsulates the gospel feel of the record while ‘I Can’t Stay’ and ‘Take’, which follow, serve to reinforce the ever-present dark shadow that’s always looming.

The album’s closer, ‘Tonight’, picks up the pace and lifts the mood, offering hope to the listener. Although dark, the “pop” sensibilities and songwriting smarts of ‘Tonight’, and indeed all the material on ‘The Light The Dead See’, ensure that it’s never dreary or self-indulgent.

Update 7 March, 2013: Watch the video for the song “Take” below: