April 13, 2005

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Gary Numan, Jagged
Metropolis Records, 2006

My, much catching up to do here. Since the release of Cars (and the suspiciously Cars-like filler that comprised the balance of 1979’s The Pleasure Principle), Gazza’s flight path has kept him mostly under US radar while keeping him busy playing with caviar-class toys, running a record label and reading gushing reviews of his own material in limey fishwrap like Melody Maker. In Jagged, Numan has awoken to find his synths mortally relevant to a disco-goth scene that’s lost Trent to systematic corporate torture, and he’s gleefully pulled out all the stops, giving us three dimensions of glacially depressed, lost-soul slow-trance. Confused zaps of static fritz out warnings that there’s something black lurking around every catchy corner of these dirges, most of them christened with one-word titles: “Haunted,” “Blind” and album highlight “Fold.” The elephant in the room is the verisimilitude of the songs, but this is a rare case of style overcoming substance. A-

— Eric W. Saeger


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