Gary Numan is the solo artist moniker and well-known name for Gary Anthony James Webb. He originally got his start in the mid-70's with his first signing to Beggar's Banquet Records in 1978 under the band name Tubeway Army. It's under this name that we received the two long-lasting classic tracks "Down In The Park" and "Are Friends Electric". During this early years it was remarkable the success that came about from these early works and the pioneer synthesizer sounds that were used. After the incredible success of "Are Friends Electric" it was just a few weeks later that the hit "Cars" made it into the charts in both the UK and the United States. At this time Gary moved changed from Tubeway Army to his new assumed name Gary Numan which we all know and recognize him today.
Over the course of nearly three decades he has continued to please fans with solid electronic rock varying from warm synthpop to harsh industrial, but always with something of a disconnected and quirky sound. In general, Gary Numan became an icon and known as the first real pop music star built around the electronic sounds of synthesizers. Around many parts of the world he was making an impression on young listeners that would later become prominent artists in the world-wide music scene ranging from New Wave, Synthpop, EBM, Goth and Industrial music. This legendary status is not easily maintained, but album after album he has provided us with more solid music that builds on his basic solid foundation of synthesizer-driven music.
After the initial success of his works in the late 70's and early 80's he struggled and released a number of works that really didn't capture the audience like the previous works. It really wasn't until the late 90's that the rebound happened with his move to a harsher and dark sound. This brought about a number of albums and a successful tour to the states that hadn't happened since the 80's. 2000 brought about the release of Pure and then silence until 2006 with the release of the latest studio album Jagged. Along with this release he is launching again on a tour and a number of other promotional efforts and releases.
A thorough and full biography can be found at www.garynuman.com and more information, news and countless interviews and goodies can be found at the official website listed below. While you're browsing, be sure to listen to latest selections from this legendary musician on Gothic Paradise Radio.
Jagged - Review
My history as a Gary Numan fan is almost as spotty as some of his career. My first exposure was through hearing "Cars" which I grew tired of and really didn't enjoy that much and so I went on looking for bigger and better music. Unfortunately it wasn't until much later that I discovered the previously released tracks "Are Friends Electric" and "Down in the Park" amid a myriad of other tracks. When his music changed to the darker tracks in the late 90's I became more intrigued and was delighted with much of what was presented. So now with this album, one of the darkest and most emotionally charged albums to date, it's a great pleasure to have it in my hands, to listen to over and over again and share some thoughts with the readers.
After the long break from the 2000 release Pure, this is a great comeback work bringing back much of what has made this artist popular today. The album is not re-defining, or unique for Gary in any way because you'll still find much of the dark, lamenting sounds that we've had in past tracks including works from the very beginning like "Down in the Park" or later titles like "Absolution" or "Dominion Day". So even though it doesn't really break new ground, it does build on the past success and his own unique and easily recognized style to create a powerful work that can only be described as powerful, emotionally-laiden electronic music. Unlike many artists that have "matured" over the years, he doesn't jump on any bandwagons such as EBM or trance-enriched synthpop, he sticks to that tried and true, somewhat mid-tempo, yet powerful music. In fact, it almost becomes a template for each track on the album, slightly to a fault to the point you know pretty much what each piece is going to sound like. Almost every piece starts out low, slow, barely audible and somber, then the chorus kicks in and so do all of the effects, powerful synths heavily processed to sound something like grinding heavy metal, yet never over the top, just enough to provide a solid bassline, and of course you can't forget Gary's emotionally strained vocals providing soaring chorus-lines in between each somber verse.
It starts out with "Pressure" providing the template for the album as described above. "Fold" has quickly become a favorite of mine, despite following the template, it stands out enough in lyrical content and slightly differing style to be a popular classic from this album. "Halo" provides a more up-beat track that may be more dance-floor friendly and more popular at the clubs along the lines of other club classics from previous works. Most others move along in that same somber-to-powerful roller coaster style, but "In A Dark Place" once again provides a slight respite and another powerful and moody piece. "Haunted" comes off in much the same manner and could easily be a new anthem for fans to live by as the moods permeate the air through the moving beats and unique vocals. After several more cookie-cutter tracks from this album (not necessarily in a bad way, just lacking much variety) we come to the final piece and title track for this album. Like the title suggests, this is the "Jagged" edge of this knife... and it roots it's sharp barbs right into your heart and soul to never let go. It provides the anchor for the album and proves the music has the power to cut through just about anything. With this piece Gary proves he does have some variety with whispered vocals and a harsher edge that won't soon be forgotten.
Because of the homogenous element of this album and standard template for each track, just about any piece could be included on a club or radio playlist, though I think fans will pick out a number of favorites. In summary it's a great work that fans will definitely want to pick up, and if you've only been hearing about Gary Numan from modern artists, pick up this album and you'll see why so many name him as a solid influence in their work.
Label: Metropolis Records