GARY NUMAN

"Hybrid" (Artful; 2003)Disc One: Disc Two:

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

"Hybrid" is a remix album. It contains songs from "Tubeway Army," "Replicas," "The Pleasure Principle," "Telekon," "Sacrifice," "Exile," and "Pure." There are three new songs as well: "Hybrid," "Crazier," and "Ancients." Each song is either "reworked" or has a "remix" attached to its root. If you like hearing Gary Numan remixed from what already sounds like a remixed song then pick up this disc.

This CD is one that has a slow vibe to it; you can use it as a midnight soundtrack if you need to drive at night. It doesn't really pick up and move too fast and if you need some bedtime music a few of the tracks will help you dream easy. Numan has always had his finger on the dance music pulse and when his songs get remixed they sound updated and not just "dated."

You can hear NIN, Orgy and a few other bands that use odd sounds and screeching scratches to add an element of synth on "Hybrid." This would be a great rave album (people still attend raves, right?). The classic song, "Cars," is reworked by Flood, who often blends synthetic and organic elements. After listening to this version you'll want to hear the original just to remember what it was supposed to sound like.

There are a few bright spots due to some guitar being worked into a song or two. This is a double disc so it's got a lot of Numan to digest. The music is good, the remixes are unique and it’s the first time he's let his songs wear different clothes.

For more information, check out http://www.garynuman.co.uk.

"Scarred" (Eagle; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Listening to his superhit, "Cars," which you still hear today on various television commercials and many rock radio stations, you might be wondering whatever happened to Gary Numan. You probably never thought you'd be reading about him on Rough Edge.

Well, the fact of the matter is that he never really went away. He's continued to work hard for the past 25 years. If you need proof, look no further than "Scarred," a two-disc, live recording of Numan in concert at the famed Brixton Academy.

As far as reading about Numan on Rough Edge, allow me to quote a few lines from the CD's liner notes, written by Fear Factory's Burton C. Bell, "I believe that Gary Numan is the most influential artist of the late 20th century." No faint praise, from a man whose own band certainly falls into Rough Edge territory.

When last you saw Numan, he probably had that sculpted hair and dressed like a new wave freak. Those days are gone. The Numan of today is a guitar-slinging rocker with more in common, looks-wise, with Audioslave than, say, Duran Duran. That's good news. The better news is that you probably won't recognize Numan's music either. You'll know "Cars" of course, but you'll probably be surprised at its new power, its new darkness. That's what the rest of this set sounds like as well. Imagine, if you will, a sound that's somewhere in the realm of Marilyn Manson, NIN, Type O Negative mixed with a bit of, believe it or not, Devo. It's as rich and as dark and as unique as it sounds, and it rocks like a bastard. 

The performance on these discs is so tight, so perfect that - when the audience screams their approval between songs or during lulls - it's almost an intrusion. You forget you're listening to a live album. 

Admittedly, a few of the songs slow down to beyond the point that some Rough Edge readers prefer, but most do not. And it's a revelation to hear "Cars" live, a song that inspired Burton C. Bell to take up music and, later in life, to record a cover version with his band Fear Factory. 

Also included are videos of "Pure," "Rip" and "Cars" live.

For more information, check out http://www.numan.co.uk/

"Pure" (Spitfire; 2000)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Unfortunately, we all probably want to hear Gary Numan's big hit, "Cars," played on every album he does. The fact is that Numan brought synth pop to America and spawned bands like Depeche Mode and NIN, who influenced Orgy and so on and so on and so on. Numan kind of faded out here in the USA while he remained huge in the UK long after “Cars.”

Numan's musical style has changed over the years. He has moved to industrial music, to Goth and, with "Pure," to modernized industrial Goth. Numan is very adaptable, can change with the times and sometimes practically creates them. "Pure" has a Marilyn Manson vibe and an Orgy sound. It’s not as fast as albums by those artists but it holds its own. A follow-up to 1997's "Exile" CD, the theme on "Pure" is against Christian dogma.

Although Numan has stepped away from the pop synth that made him famous, he still churns out much of the robotic sound that he's known for. "Pure" is not “The Pleasure Principal” because music has changed and Numan has changed with it. There are more guitars on this disc. The brooding riffs are here, and there is a cold and detached sound here rather than the vibrant pop of "The Pleasure Principal" days.

Performing on "Pure" are: Gary Numan – guitar, keyboards, programming, vocals; Richard Beasley – drums; Steve Harris – guitar; Rob Holiday – guitar, keyboards; Monti – drums, keyboards, programming.

For more information, check out www.numan.co.uk.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 May 2017 23:02:43 -0400.