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.
2. Walking With Shadows
4. One Perfect Lie
5. My Jesus
7. Listen to My Voice
8. A Prayer for the Unborn
10. Little Invitro
11. Can't Breathe