Scary Synths

Gary Numan has had a massive impact on the world of music with bands from Nine Inch Nails to The Bravery declaring his early mastery of the electronic dance genre. With this being his first album release in five years, Numan reminds us just who shook the world with unearthly electro first and why we should still listen.

'Pressure' announces the album with a mix of tense silence and storming synths that play with the listener's imagination like a toy. Numan's vocals and atmospheric backing harness a distant isolation that somehow equally manages to spit and writhe demonically in your face.

Amidst the orchestral strains of the introduction of 'Halo' we clearly hear Numan's renewed use of live drums, here provided by ex-NIN member Jerome Dillon. As the tune turns into a brash, industrial rock number the punchy kick of the drums becomes increasingly noticeable and key to the track.

'Slave' makes the hairs on the back of your neck bristle with an eerie introduction; the echoing vocals and lyrics, "Here in this room I'm a slave to your voice", instantly conjure up theatrical images and the cracking synth sounds stir up your nerves.

A stark haunting affair, 'In A Dark Place' has a cataclysmic chorus that smashes through the tender, bare vocal harmonies that go before it; while 'Haunted's riff wouldn't be out of place in an epic nu-metal killer track.

The razorblade synth sounds and resonating vocals on tracks like 'Blind' perhaps best showcase the way in which Numan captures emptiness and emotion in the same brittle vial and pours them into an amazing song.

Straying into the territory of definite goth rock, Numan delivers some chronic denouncements on religion in 'Melt' with lyrics such as, "Sometimes I wonder if the Holy Ghost is haunting me in my dreams?". Finally closer and title track, 'Jagged' brings the album to a close in a particularly powerful way; intimate forceful whispers between the lines of sultry, brooding melody create an especially vicious and captivating track.

Heavy in industrial electro sound, 'Jagged' is a slither of sordid darkness that engulfs your mind. Don't write Numan off as a musical relic or just the man who wrote 'Cars'; this album casts him as more suitable for the role of Marilyn Manson's melodic predecessor.