Gary Numan

Savage (Songs From a Broken World)

BMG

Nov 29, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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It's hard to believe it's been almost 40 years since Gary Numan helped pioneer a sound associated with a whole decade, but it's not surprising that he has a new record out. Although his star faded, it never really disappeared and he never stopped putting out new music, racking up an impressive back catalog of over 20 studio albums. What is surprising however is that there is still some synth rock territory Numan has yet to explore. Enter Savage (Songs From a Broken World).

As the title suggests, the music on Gary Numan's umpteenth album is not the light and airy, hook-heavy synth pop that made him a worldwide pop superstar in the '80s. And thankfully so. There's nothing worse than an ageing rock star clinging to their glory days by slogging through a set of mediocre songs of outdated material.

If anything, the 12 tracks on Savage are contemporary. With world-weary song titles such as "Bed of Thorns," "The End of Things," and "When the World Comes Apart," the songs are constructed with a decidedly aggressive edge. Buzzy synth frameworks form a base to launch sharp, angular synth chords with tense melodies. Icy atmospheric textures and cool bass grooves can be found lurking under the rough exterior, giving the tracks a brooding subterranean feel edging them into underground industrial/goth territory.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Numan allows his compositions some room to breathe by occasionally slowing the tempo while the mood morphs from murky to majestic as he lets his Berlin-era Bowie influence seep in. His glassy futuristic voice is as crystalline as ever and fits snuggly within the slick production.

Once again Gary Numan has proven his worth by delivering another record of dark and melancholic, yet artful, synth-rock. (www.garynuman.com)

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