Home Read Classic Album Review: Gary Numan | Pure

Classic Album Review: Gary Numan | Pure

The influential synth-rocker jumps on the electro-rock bandwagon and falls flat.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Whether you like him or not, there’s no denying Gary Numan’s impact on contemporary music.

Back in the late ’70s, the clinical keyboards, robotic rhythms and paranoid alienation of his songs like Are ‘Friends’ Electric? and Cars set the stage for the Trent Reznors and co. of today. How discouraging it is, then, to hear the 42-year-old Numan playing copycat on his latest studio CD Pure, whispering like Marilyn Manson and yelping like Reznor about pain, isolation and sacrifice while perched atop a spiky bed of spooky synthesizers and abrasive, post-industrial grind-grooves. Numan admits these brooding electro-goth pouts and tantrums were inspired and influenced by the U.S. electronica-metal scene. Which means he gets one point for honesty but no points for originality or even timeliness — tracks like Rip, Torn and Fallen sound like the cliche dreck a million NiNnies were churning out en masse back in ’96. It didn’t work then, and it certainly doesn’t work now. Especially for a guy who can do so much better.