“You can whisper your Lord’s Prayer/And pretend that it matters/But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?” – the chorus crescendo from Intruder’s title track perfectly encapsulates the theme of Gary Numan’s latest concept album, which explores “climate change from the planet’s point of view.”
Numan says these songs “try to express what I believe the earth must feel at the moment. It feels betrayed, hurt and ravaged. Disillusioned and heartbroken, it is now fighting back.”
As such, it’s an understandably bleak affair, bursting with metallic riffs and maximum synth melodrama. The New Wave trailblazer’s grandiose singing – fittingly often beseeching in tone – represents our plaintive planet in compelling fashion.
Piano and strings underscore A Black Sun before bombastic, Depeche Mode-ish percussion and woozy synths engulf the choruses. Throughout the album, our solar system is humanised (“When I was/ A child…”); sleeping, ageing and capable of feeling emotions deeply.
Intensifying to The Prodigy-level terror, The Chosen jumps in and out of the circle-pit with alarming regularity: “How could you leave your home to burn?… How could you laugh as children warned you/ How could you take their world away?” – we sincerely hope Intruder finds its way to Greta Thunberg’s ears.
Elsewhere, Saints And Liars slams, When You Fall is banging industrial electronica at its finest and closer The End Of Dragons (Alt) wonderfully showcases the emotional nuances within Numan’s delivery, his vocals dominating the mix.
Instrumentally, Numan’s 18th studio album sounds like a future Mad Max soundtrack. And Nine Inch Nails’ debt to Numan is undeniable.
Intruder by Gary Numan is out May 21 via BMG.
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