- 21 May 21
Gary gives humanity a second chance
Three years after the apocalyptic Savage (Songs From A Broken World), synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan is back with a prequel of sorts in Intruder.
Since his debut in 1979, Gary Numan's extensive influence has been indisputable. From superstars like Prince and Trent Reznor to major modern talents like Lady Gaga and Kanye West, his work has provided limitless inspiration to other leading lights.
Intruder looks at climate change from the perspective of the planet itself. The premise is to ask the question: if Earth could speak, and feel things the way we do, what would it say? The songs, for the most part, are an attempt to provide that missing voice.
The title-track is set in a dark and gloomy space, with a single source of light as a symbol of gruel-thin hope. It starts with striking lines that will be engraved in your mind: "I can listen to you scream – pretty music to my ears." The patience is gone. We've crossed the line, and it is time for Earth to declare who, or what, really holds the power.
The album depicts a planet that is wracked by mental turmoil. 'Black Sun' and 'The End Of Dragons' are eerily mournful. The sounds of a children's xylophone become the church bells. You feel a funeral in the air. "But now I feel the end come/ My childish dreams are out and gone," Numan sings. There is a mood of despair – a willingness to surrender to the worst.
After moving to the US, Numan became interested in Iranian music, the captivating vocals of Azam Ali having provided a big inspiration. That shows through in the motifs featured here: it is part of Gary Numan's mastery that he makes them feel exactly right.
Sonically and thematically, Intruder is a powerful work that tackles what is perhaps the biggest crisis in human history. There can be no more prevaricating. With Numan's incomparable, piercing vocals to the fore, the album represents a final emergency call – but will our egotistical species listen?
Produced in collaboration with long-time musical foil Ade Fenton, Intruder is the culmination of what might be called the artist's dystopian era. Hopefully the tide of history will have been turned before his next masterpiece.