Mr. Numan is back! The 20th studio album by the British music genius got me by surprise while I was not expected a new release so soon, although “Dead Son Rising” was released in 2011, it feels like yesterday and generally, Numan get used us with a three and even longer gaps between albums. But I’m not complaining at all!! This is another brilliant album and I’m 101% excited about the new Numan songs and sound. And the perspectives are really promising with this one while the album reached No. 20 in the UK album charts, making it Numan’s highest charting album since “Warriors”, exactly three decades ago.
“Splinter” is the perfect mixture of my favorites elements from Numan’s last two albums “Jagged” (2006), respectively “Dead Son Rising” (2011). We’ve got those hypnotic, Oriental flavored melodies, some grinding and contorted noises and bone cutting heavy synth riffs and fantastic hooks, smart rhythmic structures and build-ups, so, everything what makes Numan so special, genuine and unforgettable.
Most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (as Tubeway Army) and “Cars”, Gary Numan’s 20th studio album “Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)” will nail you like a hammer. “Partners in crime” for this album were: Robin Finck (ex-Nine Inch Nails and Guns N’ Roses) – guitars (tracks 1, 6, 9, 10); Tim Muddiman (Pop Will Eat Itself) – guitars (tracks 2, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12) and bass (tracks 2, 3, 7, 8); Steve Harris – guitars (tracks 1, 7, 8, 10) and long time contributor Ade Fenton – producer, programming and keyboards.
01 – I Am Dust
02 – Here In The Black
03 – Everything Comes Down To This
04 – The Calling
05 – Splinter
06 – Lost
07 – Love Hurt Bleed
08 – A Shadow Falls On Me
09 – Where I Can Never Be
10 – We’re The Unforgiven
11 – Who Are You
12 – My Last Day
Matt Colton – Mastering
Josh Giroux – Art Direction
Kicking off glitchy and crunchy, “I Am Dust” it’s a typical Numan anthem with a strong melodic hook and contorted noise layers. When the beat comes in, you can’t resist not to swinging.
“Here In The Black” bring to the surface some even more industrial flavored riffs and intensity. The powerful hook in the bridge and the twist of the chorus incorporate some Nine Inch Nails reminiscences, but everything sound and feel different through the Numan filter.
“Everything Comes Down To This” is even more rooted in the Reznor/NIN type of vibe and sound, but again Numan managed to re-shape it to his own style. The riff is pretty addictive, reminding me of the “Fragile” era moments (“We’re in This Together”), while the atmosphere is gloomy through the verses and open up on the chorus.
“The Calling” chill things down, it’s a more subtle and darker construction with some smooth orchestral breaks and mysterious aromas. Expressive and charming, Numan merged his vision and sound with the inheritance of Reznor and the result it’s
“Splinter” take us back to the spirit and flavor of his “Jagged” album, it’s a dark and slow-grinding build-up with a beautiful build-up and ringing chorus, quite addictive and impossible to get rid of it.
“Lost” it’s a quiet and sensible ballad, pretty minimal, but extremely catchy.
“Love Hurt Bleed” it’s a banging EDM track with a cool industrial flavor and not that nowadays fancy, predictable and meaningless type of American kitsch which generally it’s not memorable and surprisingly not even danceable.
“A Shadow Falls On Me” slow things down again while glitchy layers are pumping throughout the song menacing.
“Where I Can Never Be” continue in the same vein, the Nine Inch Nails parallel it’s even more obvious, but then again, this is still so Numan.
“We’re The Unforgiven” keeps the listener in that gloomy, dark atmosphere, the music is dark and minimal, more suggestive then aggressive or explicit. While the drums are banging, everything else it’s left in the shadow. The closing part it’s explosive, reminding me – once again – of Nine Inch Nails and Reznor. It’s pretty interesting how the disciple finally grew over the master and they manage to influence each other and sometimes the roots became the treetop and vice versa.
“Who Are You” it’s another EDM construction with a powerful drive and solid groove throughout, Celldweller had some this type of build-ups on his late album – probably inspired by some earlier Numan tracks.
“My Last Day” it’s another tasty minimalist ballad, really moving, gentle and nice with an awesome arrangement and a smart groove.
Maybe this album would be more effective with some even further explicate choruses, more sing-a-long build-ups and hooks, memorable passages, but then again, too many idiots write “hits” and memorable summer anthems, it’s refreshing to know that there are people who think beyond instant success and still dare to do things outside the box.
Buy it or steal it!!