Thatâ€™s right — all this week, Lost in the 80s will focus on artists who, in leiu of marching to the beat of a different drummer, chose rather to program their drums to imitate highly influential synth-pop pioneers Depeche Mode. Thereâ€™s more of these Depeche Clones than you think, as weâ€™ll see.
But before we begin, let me preface this week by saying Iâ€™m not hating on these bands. Honest. In fact, I was inspired enough to shell out for their CDs back in the day, so they must have had some appeal. And they did â€“ while shamelessly aping DMâ€™s sound, each of the bands featured this week brought something to the table, whether it was a catchy riff, a memorable lyric or just plain funny hair.
Camouflage formed in the mid-80s and had a huge hit in their native Germany and a minor hit in the States with â€œThe Great Commandmentâ€, possibly because people thought it was a new Depeche Mode single. If they thought that of their debut single, the follow-up, â€œThat Smiling Faceâ€, must have really thrown them for a loop. If you close your eyes while listening, you can almost see Martin Gore in a leather mini singing the background â€œAhhhhsâ€. Hereâ€™s an overly long Justin Strauss remix for good measure.
Camouflage diversified their sound on a couple of follow-up albums to become less Depeche-y (Depeche-ish?), but there werenâ€™t many takers and the band dissolved in the early 90s.
More Depeche Clones later this week!
â€œThat Smiling Faceâ€ peaked at #26 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart and at #37 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1989.