Vince Clarke and Martin L. Gore (both original members of Depeche Mode) come together on Ssss for the first time in the three decades ― when Clarke left the British synth-pop band to go onto his other pioneering pop projects: Yaz(oo) and Erasure. The result isn't what you would have predicted. Rather than an album of campy electro-pop, Ssss is instead a record of foot-tapping techno with only subtle hints of the duo's early synth-pop roots. The ten tracks are compelling in their own way, but the album lacks anything distinctive to distinguish it from many older techno releases, such as Kompakt's early offerings. At a time when techno, and EDM in general, is successfully incorporating artier and more diverse elements into the mix, and when almost every album seems to have a story, Ssss sounds somewhat dated and out-of-synch. Despite suffering from flatness, the album is an enjoyable enough romp and in its almost naïve purity, it is endearing. It's a pleasure to see these two pop legends going against the grain of what's expected from them and, if not taken too seriously and one track at a time, it's pretty fun. (Mute)