Most fans might agree (or not?) that by the arrival of then-new member Alan Wilder (previously contributing to the excellent 'Get the Balance Right/The Great Outdoors!' single), Depeche have a lot to thank for discovering new techniques in order to re-establish their own, superb electro-pop sound. Teamed up with Gareth Jones and Daniel Miller in the studio, the group created a truly striking LP, once again complemented by equally striking cover art. This is true 'industrial' pop-music for the Bravo generation - thought provoking despite the group's friendly pose on a teenage bedroom poster.
The greatest beauty of 'Construction Time Again' lies in the fact electronics were treated acoustically - the vocals were recorded in different interiors ('Pipeline' is a magnificent pop song treated as a field recording) and found sounds were processed and re-sampled to create an exquisite interaction between human warmth and mechanically sterile sound patterns.
'Love, In Itself' is the most straight-forward early electro-pop standard of Depeche Mode - featuring some rather untypical flamenco-ish guitars against their newly established electro-pop brutality. However, one of their most unusual songs to date is 'More Than a Party' - a massive clash of drum machines that burst and hit on with such delight and completely out of control. 'Pipeline' continues in slow, hard metal pounding beat. Occasional train sounds flow into the mix giving this particular song additional sonic depth.
Their first true big hit came delivered with 'Everything Counts' - a sharp lyrical attack on capitalism, one that remains a deserved fans' favourite to the present day.
Side two opens with 'Two Minute Warning' - technically brilliant, precise piece of pure electronic beauty for the year 1983 and beyond. It links with 'Shame' a discomforting bass line that once again demonstrates the uneasy listening factor in an otherwise catchy music of Depeche Mode. Sinister flute-sounds slide in and out of the mix, complete with simple but effectively strong rhythm structures. 'The Landscape Is Changing' reminds of the early naive observations of the band - written by Wilder, the song delivers a striking ecological message of the world's demise in such sincere, innocent fashion.
'Told You So' adds its own tiny 'insult to injury' and stands among the strongest pieces on the album - a military pop-tune flirting with Socialist imagery to great effect. Sadly it was not released as a single, albeit live versions exist and prove this song is of great appeal to a larger crowd. The title of the song is cut-up spoken, whispered or shouted snippets at random, making 'Told You So' a brilliant slogan-like piece. Depeche Mode truly sound like starting a revolution here. 'And Then...', the album's closing number, another great introspective theme on reconsidering and rearranging issues, waves goodbye in a sudden tone of uncertainty - the lyrics alongside electronic bleeps act as a serious warning to younger generations - which is fully encompassed with a hidden one-minute rendition of 'Everything Counts'.
With two albums under their wing, the group finally make their move with 'Construction Time Again' - although still not a completely defined sound identity, it is by all means their landmark release. Conceptually strong, lyrically provocative, gone is the childish synthie candy of its predecessors. And yes, this is the start of their 'Berlin phase'.