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Gary Numan

When one thinks of the history of electronic music, the name Gary Numan is one of the first to be brought up. He was the first one to score a radio hit with electronic music, 1979's single "Cars." Over the years Numan kept putting out records, but they were never as big as The Pleasure Principle. At least not here in the states. Let's remind ourselves of what's transpired musically in the last twenty some years since "Cars" was recorded. Punk was at it's zenith back then, only to be reborn a couple of times. Heavy Metal was getting ready to explode for round two, then came rounds three and four. Electronic from the likes of Numan and Kraftwerk would be absorbed by the new wave/new romantic movement of the 80's before reemerging as the angry world of bands like Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails.

The influential Numan, however, kept on the automaton-sounding cold path that he started so many years ago. It was great stuff but while he stayed popular in Europe for quite a while. In the States, however, he faded away to all but his most steadfast fans. 1998's Exile was a kind of return to form for Numan, but he was still on the fringes in the US, at best. Now I picked up his latest offering, Pure his 17th album. It is a dark, dense, intensely hot explosion compressed on a disc. Usually when I get a new disc it takes me a few listens to get the feel of it. By about a minute or so into Pure, I had this thing cranked up as loud as my car speakers would handle.

The title track starts out with a very quiet intro before wreaking havoc with some very crunch guitars shredding over a simple melody. Numan's distinctive voice is right there to let you know who you're listening to. There's a highly textured gloominess in "Walking With Shadows" that also permeates the entire album. This is not a happy little platter of fun here. The level of intensity gets cranked up on "Rip." "Rip" is a piece to behold. This is the one for the killer sound system. The samples found here and throughout the album are created by Numan and his band. This is not a found sound album. The production quality is first rate. It's a big, ballsy recording.

Within the huge sound of Pure though, there a few quiet moments that are even poignant. "One Perfect Lie" is one of those moments. It's also one of the slower cuts. Still, it has some great lyrics. That's one other thing I noticed about this album after I got past the kick to the face that the music provides. It's very well written. "Listen To My Voice" is another rabid cut that is also very danceable. Numan doesn't scream al la Manson or Reznor. He sings and whispers over the chaotic rage. Much of this album, according to Numan, was written during some very dark periods of the last year or so. "Little Invitro" about the loss of an unborn child. Talk about dark. Damn.

After living with this CD of a week of constant play I gotta say I'm impressed. It's not for the weak or the faint of heart. This one is for the deep end of the pool only. This is a fine album. I don't do an album of the year but this bad boy is etched in stone on my top ten for sure. I might even by an extra copy so I can have one in my car and one in my home at all times.


Track Listing:

1. Pure
2. Walking With Shadows
3. Rip
4. One Perfect Lie
5. My Jesus
6. Fallen
7. Listen to My Voice
8. A Prayer for the Unborn
9. Torn
10. Little Invitro
11. Can't Breathe

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