Album Reviews

Gary Numan – Intruder review

Genre: Industrial Pop Rock

Label: BMG 

Released: May 21 2021

Intruder’ tracklist:

  1. ‘Betrayed’,
  2. ‘The Gift’,
  3. ‘I Am Screaming’,
  4. ‘Intruder’,
  5. ‘Is This World Not Enough’,
  6. ‘A Black Sun,
  7. ‘The Chosen’,
  8. ‘And It Breaks Me Again’,
  9. ‘Saints And Liars’,
  10. ‘Now And Forever’,
  11. ‘The End of Dragons’,
  12. ‘When You Fall’, (bonus track on deluxe CD, vinyl and digital formats),
  13. ‘The End of Dragons (alt piano)’, (bonus track on vinyl and digital formats),

 

‘Intruder’ is Numan’s 18th solo studio album and follows 2017’s ‘Savage: Songs From A Broken World’, which became his highest charting release in almost forty years when it debuted at #2 on the Official Albums Chart.

Whereas ‘Savage’ depicted earth as a barren wasteland in which humanity and culture had been largely crushed by the effects of global warming, ‘Intruder’ presents a fresh but complementary narrative. It’s a philosophical examination of a potential future apocalypse: the planet can only survive by purging its inhabitants.

Having been a fan of Gary Numan since the early years when ‘Cars’ and ‘Are Friends Electric?’ rode high in the UK charts, no one would have expected we’d be here 40 odd years later expecting great things of him once again yet his hard work and consistent output has resulted in a resurgence that saw, as noted ‘Savage’ do so well. There are then, huge expectations around ‘Intruder’. Having the opportunity to review this was, for me, an excellent opportunity to see if those expectations have been met, weeks in advance of the official release date.

In addition to the advance listening pleasures offered by the album, 4 singles have already been released to tease the lifelong fans like myself of what can be expected. The imagery and artwork suggests a post apocalyptic dystopian future and following on from ‘Savage’ that seems like a great fit.

The title track is a great song with excellent vocals that opens our eyes a little to what’s going on in the world right now. Check out the video below and then read Gary’s explanation and you’ll see what I mean.

 

It provides a tantalising taster of what to expect. As austere synths loom like shadows and industrial beats are detonated, Numan’s beguiling hook towers like a beacon in the darkness. It’s visionary, fierce and fascinating: three traits that have become hallmarks of the musician’s influential career. The song, Numan says, finds “the Earth angry and hostile, and more than willing to fight back.”

My personal favourite is ‘Saints and Liars’ which has the a feel of the sort of track that should be used as the lead single on a film soundtrack. Again check out the video below and see what you think but I’d love to see this happen.

 That the album was partially written and recorded during lockdown is no surprise. However it’s helped shape Numan’s view of the world as it is now and the current circumstances have been assimilated into its themes. It’s especially evident in ‘The Gift’, which evolves from a sparse introduction into a resonant Middle-Eastern sonic motif. It imagines Covid-19 as the first weapon that the planet deploys in order to eradicate mankind and once again flourish. If the world doesn’t wake it, this track could become immensely prophetic which is worrying to say the least.

The final video and another that has me singing it in my head constantly is ‘I Am Screaming’. Songs with such serious subjects shouldn’t be this enjoyable. They certainly shouldn’t be the sort of ear worms that Numan is presenting to us on this album, yet here we are, understanding what’s wrong in the world and learning what to do about it whilst having a great time doing so. If only education could be this much fun at all times. Kudos to Gary for getting the message across as only he can.

 As entertaining as this album is, anger and vengeance rage in its opening chapters. ‘Intruder’ is an album that contains a huge spectrum of emotions. Aside from the areas we have already looked at , tracks like ‘Is This World Not Enough’ and ‘A Black Sun’ , the latter with a beautiful piano led intro, exude regret and then despair that this fate could’ve been avoided.

The album closes with ‘Now And Forever’ and the before the sparse, sorrowful ‘The End Of Dragons’ ends on the chilling reminder that what’s broken can’t always be fixed.

‘Now & Forever’ will, again for the fans, be one that sees them reaching for the repeat button multiple times before moving on. The song offers a hope of eternity as we reach the end days and whilst it’s very intense, it’s captivating and the core reason we will be hitting repeat. Personally it’s boding well for a classic Numan album as far as I’m concerned and it suggests that it should definitely see it charting well again,.. hopefully going one better and grabbing the top spot this time around. I think after 40+ years it’s well deserved.

 

This is an album with heart, one that forces us to look at ourselves and consider climate change from the planet’s point of view. Numan wants us to consider that, “If Earth could speak, and feel things the way we do, what would it say? How would it feel? The songs, for the most part, attempt to be that voice, or at least try to express what I believe the earth must feel at the moment.”

If the earth could speak, it would probably be disappointed in us as a species right now. We don’t think about it, we think about ourselves first. This album presents a world that is, according to Gary, “disillusioned and heartbroken it is now fighting back. Essentially, it considers human kind to be a virus attacking the planet. Climate change is the undeniable sign of the Earth saying enough is enough, and finally doing what it needs to do to get rid of us, and explaining why it feels it has to do it.”

Select formats feature two bonus tracks: questions of faith in ‘When You Fall’ and a plaintive, stripped back version of ‘The End of Dragons’.

‘Intruder’ will be released on CD, deluxe CD, black heavyweight double-vinyl, picture disc double-vinyl and digital formats. There will also be three exclusive coloured double-vinyl formats: in red (at select indie stores), silver (from Amazon) and gold (from Gary Numan’s official store). The official store will also exclusively stock the cassette.

Score: 9/10

Reviewed by: Nick Woodford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intruder can be purchased here: 

https://garynuman.lnk.to/IntruderPR

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