We get underway with “Ghost Nation” and we’re met with his trademark deep, pulsing, rock based electronica…it’s percussive and ever so slightly abrasive in tone, somewhat disjointed and fits this albums theme wonderfully…set in the future in a man-made post-apocalypse…it’s the remnants of life as we know it, as told in his own chilling, uniquely robotic way, but the chorus, is so smooth! It really carries you off into the concept this…a really good start. “Bed Of Thorns” follows up and musically we have a culture clash here as East meets West…it’s a slow, brooding number with gothic undertones, yet the inclusion of certain middle-eastern instruments adds an extra dynamic to the track that only benefits the album thematically…it’s slower but oh so satisfying.
Lead single “My Name Is Ruin” kick starts a mid-album slab of synth-driven perfection that shows Numan here really is on form and at the top of his game…the video for the track was shot in the blistering Californian desert, with his 11-year old daughter Persia providing equally sweet and haunting backing vocals, layering some incredibly melodic pop-hooks and soft industrial rock, it’s simply hypnotic, before “The End Of Things”, utilising string sections and what sounds like an old children’s xylophone allows the track to appear swathed in innocence, but despite an incredibly catchy chorus, it reeks of bitter disappointment and despair…”And It All Began With You” has some sprinklings of piano which coupled with Numan’s hushed vocal tone, it’s so beautifully peaceful, a track about finding solace through the struggle, before “When The World Comes Apart” brings you back around with a more guitar driven approach, bitter and angry, questioning God, showing a complete and justified lack of faith, it’s a powerful track…then after a couple of far-from unpleasant offerings we finish up on “Broken”; for the most part instrumental, or as so it first seems, but it closes the album, and the concept wonderfully…Numan stating that he’s seen it all happen in front of his very eyes, skies of fire, oceans…all dry…the world as we know it is dead and the back drop is this incredibly sullen, almost cinematic style score…very emotional, and full of equal parts regret and guilt.
Gary Numan may not be a household name as such but you certainly have heard of him…and nearly 40 years into his career, for him to be making albums of this calibre is fantastic…his broken world may be fictional on record, but it’s based in truth…and as artistic as it is, we need to listen to the message here, the Mad Max lifestyle isn’t as cool as it looks…