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Gary Numan
Dead Son Rising John Doran , November 14th, 2011 06:31

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People sneered at former synth pop star Gary Numan when he started dating the head of his fan club in the mid-90s. He had fallen out of favour since scoring two number one hits in 1979 ('Are "Friends" Electric?' and 'Cars'), clowned by the press, crippled by debt and seemed incapable of releasing anything other than arid funk rock. But it was Gemma O’Neil (who told her careers teacher that she didn’t need to attend his class as she was planning on marrying Gary Numan), now the mother of his three children, who deserves a lot of the credit for pulling him back from the brink.

She was responsible for introducing him to American artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson who deified him as a pioneer and persuaded him to abandon his disastrous ten year flirtation with funk. She was also key to him being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. This form of autism, to put it politely, has been a double edged sword – while making him noticeably depressed, paranoid and isolated, it has also given him a fierce tunnel vision when it comes to music, something that has become thankfully evident in his work again over the last decade or so.

This album’s conception was sparked by demos written around his last two albums Pure (2000) and Jagged (2006). And it is interesting to note that Numan has now unequivocally the king of This Kind Of Thing. Nine Inch Nails have retired (notably Numan was a star guest at a handful of the farewell shows, coming on stage to perform 'Cars' and 'Metal' with Trent Reznor). Marilyn Manson has slumped into cocaine bleached self parody. Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Revolting Cocks stumbles from one ill-conceived schlocky album to the next. The Young Gods have sadly lost the spark that once made them true innovators. This leaves Numan, who is significantly older than all of them bar Jourgensen, weirdly as one of the only credible practitioners of industrial metal at this scale.

Of course this album is something of a stopgap before the long promised "bulldozer riff-fest" of his next album Splinter but it's by no means a throwaway effort. While it is clearly a compilation of songs rather than a cohesive whole, this is by no means a bad thing either. Working with right hand man, Ade Fenton, the emphasis is on moody other worldly techno ('Resurrection') and tantalisingly the spirit of Tubeway Army is resurrected on 'For The Rest Of My Life'. The kind of colossal industrial bangers that he's made his stock trade over the last decade get a look in as well in the shape of 'Big Noise Transmission' ("Come on little fucker you can let me out!") and the arena shaped 'When The Sky Bleeds He Will Come'. More unusually acoustic instrumentation such as piano and Spanish guitar make more of an appearance on Not The Love We Dream Of. One card in Numan's strong suit is that he has a formidable way with melody, riffs and refrains - admittedly the strength of this gift seems to depend entirely on what genre he's working in but as this album displays he still has no problem in recording stone cold anthems like 'Dead Sun Rising'. Like many, I'm keen to hear Splinter but am content to relish in this satisfying compilation with its lugubrious and luxurious electronic introspection created by an artist once again near the height of his powers.

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Nov 14, 2011 2:03pm

Aren't Nine Inch Nails more 'resting' than 'retired'?

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Nov 14, 2011 3:21pm

I would love NIN and Gary Numan to do some more shows together they were awesome together on the NIN farewell tour.

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Nov 14, 2011 4:50pm

Doran you're a fucking twat, how the fuck can DSR be compared to Tubeway Army? Those TA albums piss all over DSR, you talk the same kind of shit those arseholes ever at Artrockers write. You aint got a clue what you're on about. Fuck off back up Numans arsehole you cunt!

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2011 5:53pm

In reply to Redfern:

NIN have retired.

Redfern: "tantalisingly the spirit of Tubeway Army is resurrected on 'For The Rest Of My Life" does not mean this album sounds like TA. Why don't you put down the crack pipe and get some fresh air?

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Nov 14, 2011 7:25pm

In reply to John Doran:

As a live act, fair enough but NIN released a 'Zoo Station' cover last month if that counts. For all intents it was Reznor and Ross but it got put out under the NIN banner.

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phillip stewart
Nov 15, 2011 1:13pm

DSR proves once again what a force Numan is, no-one could have come up with an album like it, after a career over 30 years ive been a fan through the high points + the very lows of his music, i never expected DSR to be such an amazing album, thank you mr numan! & as for the references to autism/ aspergers, so what? i support people with severe autism & they can be the most gifted & creative of people & it can be in some ways a blessing, im bipolar, maybe thats why numans music has touched me in the way it has for so long, whatever anyone has just deal with it & be thankfull the world has numan in it!

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Nov 15, 2011 11:49pm

Numan was the pioneer and innovator of modern electronic rock way way back in the late seventies so his little blip mid eighties has got to be forgivable. Your review is clearly a testament to his ability to impress new audiences and yet still keep his older loyal fans content with material I can only describe as magical. Keep it coming Numan, your rocking the world.

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John Doran
Nov 16, 2011 1:27am

In reply to Franny:

For the record, I'm 40 years old and first saw Numan live in the mid 80s and have been a fan ever since. But admittedly I've not been a fan from day one.

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Kendo belfast
Nov 19, 2011 6:38pm

Some cracking tracks on dsr most notably the fall and big noise transmission im sure splinter will have garys unique voice on more songs i heard gary talk down his singing on bbc breakfast the other week i wonder if gary dosent realise what a good singer he is

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Jon Vox
Nov 22, 2011 3:41pm

I have a sneaky suspicion that unless you write a"glowing"comment about Gary Numan being Mozart re incarnated,that your comment will be deleted.I wonder therefore if the writer is a numaniod themselves,but newspapers should be about free speech.

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Jon Vox
Nov 22, 2011 4:38pm

Dead son rising" an unbiased review".
It’s easy to look back now and say that people "sneered" at Numan, they did it with good cause. Numans latest offering is a mix mash of stuff that he thought was "crap", but the light-bulb of greed lit up under his jet black dyed wig and hey presto we have DSR. There is no denying that in the 80,s he was a pioneer and was one of the UK,s top artists, and did ,(yes even in my opinion) make some great songs and shows. However the quality of his music has dropped like a dead donkey from Everest. What we have now reminds me of what everyone used to do years ago in a studio when they have zero ideas. Turn on the drum machine and everything and let’s see what comes out, then add some weird warbling vocals or a drunk from some nearby karaoke bar and that's it DSR 2.
Gary could have had the credit for that but he had to ”rope a dope” in. Enter Ade Fenton (samplist and DJ guru(in his own head) to do most of the switching on. Ade Fenton the man with more singles released than Gary himself, obviously has a “let’s throw it out and see if it sticks somewhere mentality, because hardly any of his stuff stuck.
Yes!, we have also had the misfortune to see Gary turn his hand with Ade to D J nights! And that was more painful than watching Ade pick his nose hairs with tweezers.
Gary has never had "star" quality and that is evident from the moment he opens his mouth and that's why he got so much flak from the media and even the BBC. Sadly now Gary clearly sees music as only a never ending spring of money and that is evident in everything he now does, from the records, to the VIP meet-ups and finally selling white labels on e-bay ,also let’s not forget "really, really, really liking any bands video that remotely endorses his music. Numan has become something that I'm sure haunts him "a parody of himself”.

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Jan 28, 2012 5:06pm

Stunning. Felt like coming home. One of the most underrated artists in a time of those who are grossly overrated.

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Jan 27, 2014 3:52am

@ AP Lao ..... 'Time heals nothing. It merely rearranges our memory'

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