Gary Numan – Splinter Review

Gary Numan has had an odd musical progression. From the slick styled and laser like precision of the late 70′s and early 80′s to the more dark and gothic tones of his most recent work. Regardless of this though he is always going to be a legend in the wider and more specific music industry and his early and more recent traits seem to have been combined with his latest offering which goes by the name of Splinter. There has been much praise heaped on this album in comparison to his past albums and its almost like people are starting to get the dark and more industrial feel to his work. Its always great to remember someone’s past work but even better to appreciate their most recent collection of work. It shows they’ve still got the ability and hopefully Gary has done this with Splinter.

‘Love Hurt Bleed’ features the efficient churning of the massively distorted synths that really sets the dark tone of the song. But above that more conventional electronica plugs away at a melody and pierces through the internal sounds while the vocal performance from Gary is suited to him well. He isn’t going out of his reach and the effects and mid note echo of it allow him to be heard over the music but still be dark and atmospheric. I think its more than a decent effort from him and he hasn’t mellowed with age if it shows us anything. ‘I am Dust’ opens with huge intervallic waves of distorted synths that are contrasted and manipulated by Gary’s higher toned vocal in the chorus and softer and smoother vocal of the verses. There is such a glorious culmination of sound and vocal in the chorus as they rise above all the other elements with great power and finesse. The brief lull before the final blast of the chorus only highlights the effective structure of that part of the song further. In one sense it retains the dark industrial feel but at times lets the light in with great results.

The title track is muted and distant at first with the subtle wailing vocals and the quiet movement from the synths which slowly is brought into focus and refined by the percussion. There is such a massive wall of sound coming from the synths and piano chords that are wonderfully contrasted against Gary’s eerie and soft vocal while the backing vocals match that of the rising instrumentals. There is a gigantic sense of awe struck atmospheric quality and understanding with the soundscapes being created here. ‘Everything Comes Down To This’ only hints at the gritty and distorted rhythm that’s to arrive before its bursts onto the scene. The song takes on an industrial churning that’s accompanied by the echoed percussion and acts perfectly as the canvas for Gary’s vocal. Its echoed enough to blend into the music but not too much as to get lost in it. These four tracks are the peaks Gary reaches on Splinter and there are plenty of sizeable efforts throughout. But the main themes here are the manipulation of the music through great production which in turn creates huge soundscapes and stark atmospheres. It also shows what he can still do with his most recent work and next to Tubeway Army, Pleasure Principle and Telekon; it sits quite well.

Gary Numan – Splinter = 8/10

File:Splinter SFABM Cover.jpg

Images from http://en.wikipedia.org / www.undertheradar.co.nz

 

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