Gary Numan – Intruder
To those who grew up listening to late 1970s compilations, Gary Numan is something of an enduring musical god. While Suggs did Cecilia, Johnny Rotten sold butter, and Sting took up the lute, Gary Numan has always been effortlessly cool. He was a bit Goth before Robert Smith picked up mascara, and Emo while Fall Out Boy’s parents were still campaigning for a young US Senator called Joe Biden. Sampled by the Sugababes but still here, still looking like an anthropomorphic raven, he’s back with a new record: Intruder.
It’s an album that quickly knocks the listener back on their haunches with its production (always a Numan forte). On Betrayed, twitching electronica emulates guitars before doom-laden vocals come to dominate like an exceptional Linkin Park song. The Gift embraces the singer’s past and his old-school version of futurism. It could soundtrack a particularly compelling computer game level. After the emotional but slightly naff I Am Screaming, dark inspiration again intrudes on the title track. Its soaring post-chorus, thumping electronic bass and old-school Numan synths make it Intruder’s most accessible track.
Black Sun is a piano-laden indulgence, but if anyone deserves some indulging on piano it is Gary Numan. The tracks that follow – The Chosen, And It Breaks Me Again, as well as the thumping single Saints and Liars – are probably the best showcase of the album’s blend of strengths. It’s emotional, modern-sounding rock, but without guitars and infused with the minimalist sensibilities that made the musician a star. However, although fitting, The End of Dragons and When You Fall make for a rather anticlimactic conclusion.
Intruder won’t satisfy those who have come for a rehashing of the hits – and is all the better for it, as this is clearly an artist who has maintained creative fire in his belly. What’s remarkable about it is that, despite still very much being a Gary Numan record, it sounds new and fresh in a way that would be impressive from those young enough to be his grandchildren. If a band with a nice, moody haircut released Intruder, critics would probably be talking about how innovative they were and how they’d have a big future.
It’s not a perfect record, and is an acquired taste – but that is something to be said in its favour, as it’s work from an artist who is still unafraid to put himself out there, rather than resting on his back catalogue.
Intruder is released on 21st May 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Gary Numan’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Saints and Liars here: