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Dark, moody and emotionally charged – all of these qualities typify Dave Gahan’s work, most notably with industrial forefathers Depeche Mode throughout the last two decades. Thus comes a daunting task of putting out Paper Monsters, the first solo album from the former front man. The most challenging aspect of producing a solo album is molding a distinctive sound for yourself while stepping out of the shadows from your previous work to create something unique. Paper Monsters manages to marginally exceed expectations, while still drawing back on past qualities that made Depeche Mode such a success.Every track on the album is laden with Gahan’s dark, emotional and almost haunting voice, lyrically charged with despairing accounts of failure and torment. And while it’s almost classic Depeche Mode style, Paper Monsters is filled with a pop sensibility only found in a few Depeche Mode songs. However, the album brings little new to the table. All of Gahan’s characteristically dark vocals and eerie moods are carried over, but it seems he’s mimicking the style that Depeche Mode perfected without the rest of the band, something that only half works in the end.