A stompy â€œI Am Dustâ€ opens Gary Numanâ€™s Splinters (Songs From A Broken Mind), his 20th studio release. â€œEverything Comes Down To Thisâ€ is a low tune where Numan uses his full, distinct voice, clipped metal back beat and a good, loud chorus. Dripping high plunky beats and bleeding synths run under soft Numan vocals on â€œThe Callingâ€ while â€œSplinterâ€ sees some tribal drumming, haunting female vocals, then what sounds like live drumming, piano and Numan certainly saying something in his â€œI believe inâ€¦â€ lyrics and his backing â€œoh oh oh-ing.â€
â€œLove Hurt Bleedsâ€ slinks hard in its metallic commercial loudness, something I know weâ€™re used to from NIN, but I feel Numan mined this area as good as (even before, possibly) Trent. Iâ€™m not dissing Trent, but there were guys like Eno, Bowie and Numan doing all this too. Playing with handclaps and a programmed backbeat, Numan sings in a wholly different register for lots of the roiling â€œA Shadow Falls On Meâ€ while heâ€™s positively pleading on â€œWhere I Can Never Be.â€
I like the ’80s John Carpenter movie soundtrack-sounding backing and stuttering vocoder vocal spikes to â€œWeâ€™re the Unforgiven,â€ Numanâ€™s voice of course lifts things up grandly, especially in the last third over the instrument-jamming swirl. â€œWho Are Youâ€ is a tight, danceable tune, while some very dramatic instrumental work informs â€œMy Last Day,â€ featuring again expressive Numan vocals and a nice piano coda.
Splinters (Songs From A Broken Mind) is about what youâ€™d expect from Gary Numanâ€¦and thatâ€™s a very good thing indeed.