13 Amazing Bands Similar To Depeche Mode

Written by Dan Farrant

Depeche Mode, the legendary techno-pop band from Basildon, England, has been redefining electronic music for over four decades. With their unique blend of synth-pop, ambient tunes, and experimental sounds, they continue to inspire generations of musicians and attract legions of devoted fans worldwide.

If you’re among them or simply curious about exploring similar artists who share Depeche Mode’s innovative spirit and genre-bending approach to music-making, look no further!

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of 13 bands like Depeche Mode that will surely capture your interest with their creative soundscapes and powerful performances. Read on!

Depeche Mode by Nir Nussbaum (CC BY-SA 2.5)

1. New Order

Our first recommendation, New Order, emerged in the early ’80s as one of the most influential synth-pop bands, sharing a similar sound and style with Depeche Mode.

Formed by the remaining members of Joy Division after the tragic death of lead singer Ian Curtis, New Order carved their own path by combining post-punk elements with electronic dance music.

They were among some pioneering artists who embraced synthesizers and drum machines to create catchy melodies without losing depth or substance in their songs.

By blending these experimental tones with melodic hooks reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s work, New Order managed to achieve both critical acclaim and commercial success throughout their career.

2. The Cure

Emerging from the British post-punk scene in the late 1970s, The Cure quickly established themselves as one of the most iconic alternative rock bands of all time.

Fronted by enigmatic singer Robert Smith, their stylistic evolution over four decades has ensured a dedicated fanbase and consistent influence on modern music.

The Cure’s extensive discography showcases a wide range of musical styles beyond synth pop and electronic music. From introspective ballads like “Pictures of You” to upbeat dance tracks such as “Friday I’m In Love,” they offer something for every listener.

Since one of Depeche Mode’s influenced is The Cure, the songs from this band is perfect to add to your playlist if you want similar musical styles.

3. Pet Shop Boys

One of the most iconic and influential bands in the synth-pop genre, Pet Shop Boys shares several similarities with Depeche Mode.

Throughout their illustrious career spanning four decades, Pet Shop Boys have continually reinvented themselves while maintaining their signature sound. They consistently push boundaries within the realms of pop rock, ambient music, jazz influences, and experimental music.

Much like Depeche Mode and other alternative bands such as The Cure and New Order, they leave a lasting impact on both the industry itself and aspiring artists that would eventually be influenced by their work.

4. Joy Division

One of the most influential post-punk bands of all time is Joy Division and is often compared to Depeche Mode. Like Depeche Mode, Joy Division hails from the UK and has made significant contributions to music genres such as electronic, pop-rock, and experimental.

Their sound was known for its dark overtones and haunting lyrics that deeply resonated with their audiences. Despite being active only for a short period due to lead singer Ian Curtis’ tragic death, Joy Division’s impact on alternative music can still be felt today.

It’s interesting to note that Martin Gore has cited Ian Curtis as a major influence in his songwriting process for many of Depeche Mode’s early tracks like “New Life” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

5. OMD

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark—best known simply as OMD—is an electronic band from England that was also part of the new wave movement. OMD was formed in 1978 and became popular in the early 1980s. Like Depeche Mode, they experimented with synthesizers to create their unique sound.

OMD’s music combines elements of synth pop, ambient music, and experimental sounds to create a distinct sound that has influenced many bands since its inception. They were one of the first British bands to experiment with sampling technology on a commercial level.

Their earlier songs “Souvenir,” “Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc),” and “Enola Gay” became great hits, reaching the top 10 of UK’s Singles Chart.

6. The Human League

Another band that emerged from the ‘80s British new wave scene and is like Depeche Mode is The Human League. Hailing from Sheffield, the band is known for experimenting with electronic music to create a unique sound.

The band gained some recognition in the late 1970s with their debut album Reproduction and the single “Being Boiled.” However, their greatest breakthrough is their third album, Dare, and the song “Don’t You Want Me,” released in 1981.

With over four decades of experience in the industry, The Human League is recognized as one of the most important bands of the synth-pop genre, and their music continues to be celebrated and influential in the world of electronic music.

7. Yazoo

Formed in 1981, Yazoo, also known as Yaz in the United States, consisted of Alison Moyet on vocals and Vince Clarke on synthesizers. Like Depeche Mode, Yazoo blended synth pop and electronic music to create a unique sound that captivated audiences around the globe.

Their debut album, Upstairs at Eric’s, showcased their exceptional songwriting skills with notable hits such as “Don’t Go” and “Only You.” The latter became their biggest success globally, reaching #2 in the UK charts.

Although they disbanded after just two years together, each member continued making music individually. Moyet went on to have an illustrious solo career, while Clarke joined forces with Martin Gore of Depeche Mode to form our next band Erasure.

8. Erasure

Consisting of Andy Bell and former Yazoo member Vince Clarke, we have the UK synth-pop group Erasure. They formed in 1985, and their music has been heavily influenced by Depeche Mode.

After the success of their second album, The Circus, in 1987, Erasure successively released chart-topping albums, including The Innocents and I Say I Say I Say.

Having just released their latest work, Day-Glo (Based on a True Story), in 2022, the band’s longevity is a testament to their talent and enduring popularity within the synth-pop genre.

Erasure’s music videos also stand out for their colorful visuals and playful costumes, adding another layer of entertainment value to their already engaging music.

9. Duran Duran

British new wave band Duran Duran formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978. They were one of the iconic bands of the 1980s and are known for their flamboyant fashion and catchy pop songs.

Musically speaking, they blend elements of synth pop and pop rock to create a sound that’s both danceable and accessible.

As contemporaries of Depeche Mode, Duran Duran shares some similarities with them. Both bands emerged from the UK electronic music scene in the early 80s, though Duran Duran was more focused on mainstream success through their videos and stadium shows.

While Depeche Mode’s music is darker and more experimental at times, much of Duran Duran’s music has a brighter sheen that was reflective of the neon-colored era when it first came out.

10. Tears For Fears

With music blending synth pop, new wave, and rock, Tears for Fears rose to fame. Formed in Bath, England, in 1981, they became known for their catchy melodies, introspective lyrics, and sophisticated production.

Their debut album in 1983, The Hurting, was a critical and commercial success, featuring hits such as “Mad World” and “Change.” But it was their follow-up album in 1985, Songs from the Big Chair, which reached #1 in the US, that helped cement Tears for Fears’ place in pop music history.

Both Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears were part of the new wave and synth-pop movements of the 1980s. As Tears for Fears also incorporates electronic instrumentation and synthesizers into their music, they’re a great band to listen to if you want music similar to Depeche Mode’s.

11. Soft Cell

British synth-pop duo Soft Cell rose to prominence in the early 1980s, around the same time as Depeche Mode. The band’s music was marked by the distinctive vocals of frontman Marc Almond, whose rich voice was often contrasted with the cold, synthetic sounds of the band’s instrumentation.

Their most popular song, “Tainted Love,” remains an iconic synth-pop hit and has been covered by artists across genres, like Marilyn Manson and Straight No Chaser.

Like Depeche Mode, Soft Cell was part of the emerging new wave music movement in the late 1970s and early ’80s. They were influenced by punk rock and experimental music but also incorporated elements of post-punk and disco into their music.

12. Blancmange

One of the synth-pop bands of the late 1970s that heavily influenced Depeche Mode is Blancmange. The band was formed in the UK in 1979 and consisted of Neil Arthur on vocals and Stephen Luscombe on keyboards.

Like Depeche Mode, Blancmange has been active for over four decades, experimenting with different music genres such as ambient, experimental, and pop rock.

Success for the band came with their debut album, Happy Families, in 1982. Two years after, Blancmange followed it up with their best work, Mange Tout, which landed at #8 on UK’s Albums chart.

Despite some lineup changes over the years, Arthur remains committed to pushing musical boundaries while maintaining their unique style.

13. A-Ha

We conclude this list with a band all the way from Oslo, Norway, A-ha. The band is best known for their hit song “Take On Me,” which reached #1 in the United States and several other countries in the mid-1980s.

A-ha followed up the success of “Take On Me” with several other hit singles, like “The Sun Always Shines on TV” and “Cry Wolf.” They have also won numerous accolades, including eight Spellemannprisen (Norway’s equivalent to the Grammys).

Emerging around the same time as Depeche Mode, A-ha’s music also has roots on synth pop and electronic rock, thus why they’re on this list. However, unlike Depeche Mode’s darker, more experimental sound, A-ha’s music has a lighter beat and is more pop-oriented. Nevertheless, they’re worth a listen!

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Similar to Depeche Mode

This ends our list of bands sharing the music style of the iconic electronic band Depeche Mode. If you’re a fan of theirs, these groups we’ve listed will certainly be interesting.

From New Order to A-ha, each one blends synth pop and electronic music, but adds their own unique take to make their songs interesting. Check them out; we’re sure they will satisfy your craving for that distinctive sound.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.