Untitled Document After soaking itself in a hard industrial sound for several albums, Depeche Mode returns to its roots with Playing the Angel, the group’s first release in four years.

It’s the soft-boiled, brooding melancholy of minor chords and romantic nihilism that electro-composer Martin Gore and vocalist David Gahan nail; the elegant Euro-centric grandeur the moaning Mode owned on 1986’s Black Celebration.

Gahan’s mostly mono-baritone takes to Gore’s down-turned melodies and rubbery arrangements like a nun to her own personal Jesus, sucking the marrow from the dire "Suffer Well" and its prettier sister, "Precious," with glee – enough glee to infuse Gahan’s lost soul lyricism with necessary passion.

Updated with scuff-marked ambience and grimy guitars ("Nothing’s Impossible") Gore’s soft, somber electronics forces focus on Gahan’s usual disappointments. Yet, when faced with rotted relationships and detached spirituality ("Damaged People"), Gahan manages a kink or two, literally and figuratively.