Gary Numan’s curious late-career high has resulted in some astonishing music. Severing his links to the past, the electronic pioneer has embraced industrial noise with real abandon, resulting in a series of reinvigorated, genuinely challenging records.
‘Intruder’ follows ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ and ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’, albums whose critical success was accompanied by scorching live shows – performances that underlined the strength of his catalogue, and Numan’s willingness to engage with future-facing aesthetics.
Stepping into a fresh chapter, ‘Intruder’ is a crunching, intense return, a song cycle that dwells on humanity’s willingness to destroy its own world. Dense and paranoid, opener ‘Betrayed’ and single ‘I Am Screaming’ carry a rare sense of urgency, with Gary Numan’s tech-enabled pleas resulting in some Brutalist digital pop excursions.
‘Is This World Not Enough’ is a brooding condemnation, while ‘And I Breaks Me Again’ opens with bruised ambient noises, like a space station undulating out of control. ‘Now And Forever’ exposes his innate melodic prowess, yet its rhythmic chassis almost recalls Massive Attack’s ‘Mezzanine’ in its paranoic stance.
‘When You Fall’ wrestles with zero-gravity studio techniques, while Gary Numan’s lyrical directness rips down religious belief structures to expose what lies underneath. An album that is unafraid to be pretentious in the most positive, creative sense of the world, ‘Intruder’ consciously tackles Big Topics, a work that illustrates Gary Numan’s ongoing ambitions. A project that outstrips most of his peers, ‘Intruder’ offers a stark and impassioned vision of our society – one that could well rank as his most complete project to date.
Words: Robin Murray
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