After 22 years as frontman of Depeche Mode, Dave Gahan has finally got around to releasing his first solo album. And guess what? It sounds almost exactly like Depeche Mode, making you wonder what the point of the exercise was in the first place. Never mind - as DM records go, this is a pretty good one, dominated by mesmeric R'n'B grooves, eerie blues harmonicas and a slew of compulsive electro-rockers. Lyrically, meanwhile, the songs seem to be largely inspired by Gahan's well-publicised drug habit, a subject he writes about with conviction, passion and not a little insight. The only real problem is an old one - the Basildon man has never been the most versatile of songwriters, and a whole album's worth of his tortured compositions can be a little hard to take. That said, Paper Monsters' best moments pack a powerful emotional punch, and prove that there's plenty of creative life left in the old doom-monger yet.