GARY NUMAN has returned with Dead Son Rising, his first studio album since 2006’s Jagged. Produced and co-written and by Ade Fenton, the album started life as a set of discarded demos from previous projects, but quickly took on a life of its own. As Numan explains, The original idea that sparked off these songs are now barely visible. It’s grown into another animal, something more experimental.
In his exclusive interview with The Electricity Club last month, GARY NUMAN revealed that the first track to be completed on the album was The Fall. The song is already familiar to most fans as it has been included in his live set since 2009s Pleasure Principle tour. The studio version provides one of the albums standout moments. This is 21st Century Numan at full tilt, wearing the NINE INCH NAILS influence proudly on his sleeve. Industrial beats and a blistering chorus combine to make The Fall a modern Numan classic.
When The Sky Bleeds He Will Come begins on wistful note before guitars kick in and transform it into something much darker. There are reflective moments too; the largely instrumental refrain of For The Rest Of My Life, with its piano and acoustic guitar is evocative of early Telekon B-sides. Perhaps the most welcome surprise of all is Not The Love We Dream Of, a melancholy ballad featuring a superbly restrained vocal performance from Numan. A haunting piano reprise, played by Ade Fenton, provides the perfect album closer.
The Numan / Fenton partnership has clearly found its feet on this project; Ade Fentons production is solid throughout, whilst Numans voice has never sounded better. However, what really makes Dead Son Rising is its diversity. There is a variety of texture and tempo employed throughout the album, and as such it avoids the pitfall of its predecessor Jagged, which suffered from being rather one-paced. As a project that began its life on the cutting room floor, Dead Son Rising exceeds all expectations and is Numans most rewarding album for many years.
GARY NUMAN recently completed the first leg of his Dead Son Rising tour, and The Electricity Club was present at the Shepherds Bush Empire show in September. Instrumental album opener Resurrection provided the intro, with its blasts of electronic noise setting the scene as the band took their places against a giant LED screen. For the rest of the set, new tracks from Dead Son Rising were interspersed with favourites from Numans back catalogue. It is testament to Numans creative revival that post-millennium tracks such as Pure and Haunted are received as enthusiastically as classics such as Down In The Park and I Die: You Die.
The lightshow, whilst hardly groundbreaking, was effective. The LED screen flashed up a backdrop of challenging images, notably on Absolution which featured an unsettling graphic montage of religious fanaticism. As Numan revealed in his TEC interview, he is keen to develop the visual aspect of his shows and the next tour, to promote the Splinter album, could be on a much larger scale.
As ever, Numan was mesmerising to watch, prowling the stage and fixing the crowd with his distinctive icy stare. There was, however, a touching moment at the end of the main set, when he brought his two daughters out onto the stage for the 2000-strong crowd to sing Happy Birthday to the eldest, Raven – Remember, I am human
As proceedings came to a close and hands punched the air to the customary encore of Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, there was a celebratory atmosphere. Numan is back with an album of which he can be justifiably proud, and with the long-awaited Splinter release and tour planned for 2012, the future looks bright.
Special thanks to Steve Malins at Random
Dead Son Rising is released by Mortal Records and available now from a variety of retail and digital outlets.
The second leg of the Dead Son Rising tour includes:
Leamington Spa Assembly Hall (7 December), Manchester Ritz (8 December), Southampton Guildhall (9 December), Nightmare Before Christmas ATP Festival hosted by BATTLES (10 December), Hatfield University The Forum (11 December)
Text by Steve Gray
Photos by Jus Forrest
31st October 2011