on 18 October 2013
Gary Numan -Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)
1. I Am Dust - Cracking opener. Menacingly dark rhythm.
2. Here In The Dark - I can imagine this track playing over the closing credits of the next Jason Bourne film. Move over Moby.
3. Everything Comes Down To This - Gary's in deep, dark territory here. This could've been a little shorter, but still sounds great.
4. The Calling - Almost a throwback to Pleasure Principle... Not a bad thing really.
5. Splinter - Title track sees Mr Numan in philosophical/observer mode. "...I see you..."
6. Lost - I love this track. It reminds me of Please Push No More from the Telekon album.
7. Love Hurt Bleed - Industrial meets disco? It works. Fantastic beat. Blood on the dance floor? You bet! Pumping rhythm will get the crowd up and sweaty.
8. A Shadow Falls On Me - The disjointed beats are brilliant. Quite moving too.
9. Where I Can Never Be - Deep and dark again... Great track... Bad place.
10. We're The Unforgiven - The lyrics to this are brilliantly descriptive... Like listening to a five minute episode of Game Of Thrones.
11. Who Are You - The sense of loss runs through most of the tracks on this album. The sentiments in this track leads us beautifully in to...
...12. My Last Day - The album ends on a very touching, sombre and emotional note. Lovely song.
I followed this album's development on Twitter, and so I make no mistake in saying Splinter by Gary Numan is a fantastic album. Totally worthy of 5*. I loved Pure back in 2001, but with Splinter he's taken the thoughts that went into those songs and injected a darkness and love that totally over-powers. It's almost like, at the end of every song (sometimes at the end of every line even) he's going to top himself. Thankfully he doesn't. Just managing to pull himself away from the ledge.
This ranks as one of, if not the best Gary Numan album ever. It's taken 34 years but it was well worth the wait. It has the power to move you physically and emotionally... Internally. Spot on vocals... Brilliant, thoughtful lyrics... Musically... Wow! Produced to perfection by Ade Fenton.
All of the tracks are stand-out. But, my favourites are My Last Day and Lost.
on 15 October 2013
Gary is like no other artist I know. After the flush of early success in his career in the 1979 and early 80's where he was an innovator he kept on keeping on, didn't rest on his laurels. Continuing to make music and search for the next innovation, (by his own admission, he had some miss album's peppered in with the hits) rather than getting on the treadmill of living off his early success or worse still giving up and being remembered for Cars and Are 'Friends' Electric? he has now arrived at Splinter (Songs from a broken mind).
So before thinking about the music, think about that tanacity, a full 35 years after the release of his first album he is still innovating and wanting to do something better than he has done before.
In Splinter he has achieved just that. A really incredible album that demands to be heard over and over. The variety of sounds on the album is the first thing that struck me, it has a sound theme running through it although none of the songs sound 'samey'. The music is strong, hard, rough, heavy whilst being beautiful and fragile. Above all, I find the sound menacing and un-nerving... I am sure that Movie Producers in Hollywood will listen and be calling on Gary soon. Numan's vocals are as good as ever and I am even hearing things in his voice that he hasn't tried before, a real delight and demonstration of a new found confidence.
This is not an album where it is easy to pull out a stand out track, they are all stand out and with the variety that I mention above, to call out one is to ignore another.
A tour de force. I would go as far as to say, his best yet.
on 18 October 2013
For once I am lost for words. I've started my review over and over again, but couldn't add any more than other reviewers have already eloquently written. It is possibly the most complete album Gary has ever released, bridging the gap between 20th and 21st century Numan music. And although the heavier/more up tempo tracks do have elements of NiN and even Rammstein, if it wasn't for Gary those bands wouldn't exist. Where `Love Hurt Bleed' has come from after all these years, god only knows; it maybe one of his finest songs to date.
When all hope appears to be gone from artists from an era that is unrivaled, Gary Numan, against all the odds (and his many critics) releases Splinter and restores my faith in music.
Well done Gary.
on 15 October 2013
Finally the new album from numan has arrived. From the opening seconds of 'i am dust' you can tell that he is back to his best. He has musically been in and out of the wilderness for more than 20 years, but now, thankfully he is back doing what he does better than anyone else on the planet.
Numan has returned. No more the messing about trying to re invent pop songs, he has taken the raw sound he used to have and re invented that instead. Every track has pure numan written all over it.
Stand out track for me is 'A shadow falls on me' which encapsulates numan from the beginning. Its what numan was, is and will be for many years to come.
All in all, a must buy, even for those fans who have been disillusioned in the past (me being one of them)
on 10 November 2013
I cannot express my amazement at this album, as it is without a doubt one of the best album's he has ever released (if indeed, not the best ever).
The songcraft and workmanship on it are at a level i've not seen since his explosion into the charts back in 1979. It is testament to a very accomplished and enduring musician.
I am left completely breathless each time i listen to it. There is not one bad track here. My though's as i listen to each track:
We Are Dust
This a slow burner intro that for me conjours up visions of a future 1979 looking back at things to come (trippy eh?).
The line "We were pulled from the path of least resistance" makes me think of the early Human League track and Tubeway Army. Glorious electronic pioneers of my youth that they both were. It's like Gary is calling the listener back home to the future. Epic.
Here In The Black
Is a thumping power track of pure Numan electronic menace. The whispered lines make my neck hairs stand up. A wall of noise that brings a most glorious keyboard shrill sound, the likes of which i have never heard before, into a chorus that makes me want to weep with joy, it is a tremendous track. This music really moves me. One of my favourites on the album.
Classic Gary Numan. That shrill sound will burn into your brain once heard so be warned.
Everything Comes Down To This
Following on next and placed just right after the last track, this has a real Pleasure Principle vibe to it.
It makes me think of both 'Films' and the title track from Replicas. Gary pulls the speed back in places, and the tempo slips. Like he is holding back a ferocious black dog as it pulls on a lead. Then he lets the collar slip and it charges at you with that killer Numan chorus. I love it.
Slowing things up a bit, and changing pace, the throbbing base and subdued vocals of this track takes me into Telekon territory. There are some sugary sweet string sounding synths on it but they are needed to balance out proceedings so far. A little sweetener for the listener after the earth shaking previous two tracks.
I can't help but drawer comparison with 'The Aircrash Bureau'. However, this is firmly a god themed song. Being an firm atheist myself i think i get where Gary is coming from.
A very eastern feel to this track. It's packed with stripped back, and raw, emotion. A look at the nature of man,kind the cruelty and horror of how it can be. In the end is there eternal damnation or nothing but endless black?
Some lovely music craft and vocals on this track. Forgive me, as i am not a musician so i cannot put it into technical terms. What i can say with confidence is that it is a very well crafted song and i cannot verbally do this track justice. Just let it flow over you.
This is my favorite song on the album.
This is a very sad song, Gary's vocals are softened and very emotive. It is also a masterpiece that grows from a quiet beginning to a powerful and somewhat bleak ending.
It's really not my kind of song but i do love this track as it is so good. It's a lovers desperate plea for things to be how they once were but can never be.
This, along with the final track, are deeply personal tracks by Gary.
Love Hurt Bleed
Nine Inch Nails all the way this one. But with that Numan twist, and what is a dynamic mix of the two musically. One you can dance to and revel in Gary's cynical cyber beat.
Picture a crowded goth nightclub in a Matrix style movie. Abd with a chase scene going on through it. A total floor filler for the darkwavers.
A Shadow Falls On Me
Gary's vocals take me right back to the early Tubeway Army days. They take me by surprise each time they start. I thought it was a girl for the first few seconds i originally heard them.
It makes for a very interesting take on the album, with the background synths and echoed high pitched vocals. Weird and wonderful.
A kind of 21st century 'Everyday I Die' although vastly different. Another favorite just for being so original.
Where I Can Never Be
Interesting lyrics. Is it being sung by someone who has passed over? Or a loved one left after a break up? As if they are in effect dead emotionally to the person who has gone on and is living their life. Listen to the words and try and work it out.
It has a keyboard riff that reminds me of 'Closer' by Nine Inch Nails (one of Gary's favorite tracks).
We're The Unforgiven
Strange garbled speech, and another NIN feel at the start. It soon morphs into pure Numan though. The sound of a once proud creed of angels and gods who now
have faded into time. It builds to a lovely classic chorus and wall of distorted guitar accompanied by shrill electronic keyboards.
A real grower for me and another highpoint for this album. I love the ending. What a noise!
Who Are You
I don't know what to make of this track at first then bam! that chorus gets me. Lots of nice sliding synth noises and thumping drums. Fat squelchy electronics then wow, that chorus again. Yep, it's chorus song this one. A little hypnotic and best played at ear bleedingly loud volume.
My Last Day
This is a really beautiful song. Gary sings to his daughters of his last day alive. His hopes, and his dreams for them. His sadness at knowing he cannot be there for them always. As a dad i can totally relate to this when i think of my young son and it makes me fill up each time i hear it.
It's the absolute right song to end the album with. From the powerful cyber machine start that is Numan, through to the human heart and soul that is Gary.
Recommended tracks: Here In The Black, Everything Comes Down to This, Splinter, Lost, My Last Day. But i would pick every track to be honest.
I recommend the delux digipack as you get some remixes, as you will not be able to get enough of this album so will be glad of them. However, they do not match the ones on the album in my opinion but are interesting to hear.
My wife and i are looking forward to the London show this Saturday. My retro purple 'Cars' tee shirt is pressed and ready.It's a thrilling thought to know we will be hearing some of these tracks live for the first time. I think the roof of the Roundhouse is gonna be raised that night. We expect big things of this gig. No pressure then ;).
Gary, you have given the fans old and new a very fine album. "Musically i am just an arranger of noises". Tosh! Do not ever undersell yourself with to modest comments like that again. This is your best album yet and i don't know if you will be able to ever top it.
on 2 December 2013
Without a doubt his best album since Telekon.
Not that that is so surprising for all of those who suffered the following albums, full of slap bass and saxophone shenanigans, culminating so spectacularly on the truly dire Machine and Soul.
Not that there weren't moments on those albums, but in trying to appease the critics who had embarked on an unprecedented campaign of vitriolic abuse,( the same critics who now laud him as a 'legend' and 'genius' ) he lost his direction and gave even more ammunition to his critics and left the rest of his scratching our heads.
And then came Sacrifice....or Hallelujah as we called it in our house, as Gary went back to making the music HE wanted to make and the fans wanted to hear, a truly great return to form.
However since then it's all been a bit too much of the same and it was with a certain sense of trepidation that I bought this. I'm glad to say my fears were completely unfounded! After the opening track, I am Dust, I had a huge grin on my face and played it again before I carried on with the rest of the album. When I eventually got to the end I was still grinning!
It's an album where Gary seems to be at the top of his game. it's exciting, innovative, fresh yet familiar,and full of crackers.I am Dust, Lost, Love Hurt Bleeds..... and if Here In The Dark isn't the best, darkest f*** off James Bond theme you've ever heard...well, it should be!
If only Simple Minds could do the same and realise what made them so great....
I'm thrilled and delighted. A Triumph!
on 15 November 2013
A friend of mine has been 'into' Gary Numan right from the start and I always remember going round to her house with 'Cars' screaming out of her tape deck!
I resisted then buying anything from Gary Numan (even though I liked him) but, after all the 'buzz' surrounding this latest offering I thought, 'What the Hell..better late than never!'
I am not going to sit here analyzing all the tracks. Quite a few people have done a brilliant job of reviewing them already..and they will know more about Gary's past work to compare it to.
All I will say is this; there is NOT ONE bad track on this CD, which is rare. People have a short attention span these days but no way could you put this CD on and not play it all the way through, it wouldn't do it justice. It feels a bit like a concept album anyway as it gives you an insight into what was going on in Numan's mind at the time.
Yes, it's dark..but catchy as well. People who are depressed have actually said that Gary Numan's music helps them..and, after listening to this around 3 times now (I've got my headphones on playing it through my computer although it did sound awesome on my 'system') I can well understand what they mean.
Mind you, the last track 'My Last Day' DID make me cry..but in a good way!
I found out today that this CD is at No.20 in the album charts this week and I'm so chuffed I've helped it get there.
on 14 October 2013
This album is an intense and intimate experience. Numan translates the feelings he had during one of the most difficult parts of his life into music that is his, and his alone. It is unmistakably Gary Numan, and yet it is new, fresh, challenging, engrossing and rewarding. There are the tiniest echoes to early works - the young Gary Numan of Cars and Are 'Friends' Electric and others - in the lyrics, the musical elements and the singing style. But this is a mature album - of a man who has seen and experienced much, thought much. Some tracks nearly lose the song in a crashing wall of sounds; others are near ballads of simplicity. This album cannot disappoint.
on 14 July 2014
ok ok ok I feel like I need to write this review. Not long been back since Sonisphere festival where i have had my first taste of Gary Numan 's music live. I have to say I was shocked and totally engrossed in the set. It blew me away!! I purchased Splinter off the back of the live experience and have to say i am totally stunned again. Numan has created a dark, icy, futuristic soundscape that captures the imagination. For me it gets better the more listens it gets. Somewhere between Electronica, Synth and industrial (trying not to pigeon hole here) Numan has created a stunning LP and anyone curious don't hesitate to purchase. One of the few artists ive seen recently that sound as good live as they do on LP. Cheers Numan and the team
on 25 February 2015
I'm not going to waste much time here but this is THE definitive Numan album ever. If he never made another album again, this would be the perfect end to a career spanning almost 40 years. But thats not going to happen.....yet. Splinter was a long time coming due to "anniversary" album tours, a complete hits package, depression, marriage problems and a move to L.A. Numan took this album to places even he didn't believe possible (including the Middle East) playing over 80 live shows. It will be a tough album to follow but for an artist who had been written off 20 years ago, Numan can easily deliver the goods again.