Gary Numan / Archive 2

Archive, Vol. 2

Gary Numan (born Gary Anthony James Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars“. His signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals.

Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music.[1][2] His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.

The Analysis:

In A Glass House—-Continuing much in the vein that the first Archive release left off, this again revisits the Numan era where faux jazz and an unresponsive style seemed to pervade most of his releases. this is not a terrible song, but it re-plays countless songs that were released over a three album span that all sounded the same…unsucessful, unremarkable and a bit boring.

Confession—-Delivering a live track, probably taken from the Skin Mechanic CD, I would have to check. this is again laden with a faux funk that really never mixed well with the mystic and removed vocal of Numan. All of the backdrop female vocals only serve to distract and take away from what could have been a damn catchy song. to me, this material was ignored for a reason…that brief time period when Numan really let me down!!!

Down In The Park—-Why this is repeated from the first Archive release is beyond me…this is the same old song…nothing new or fresh. Still a stellar piece of music, it is nice to hear but I would have preferred something else.

Tricks—-Again with the unnecessary saxophone and dramatic movement away from the synth mastery that made this career so monumental!!! This is a weak excuse of a filler song that falls so flat listening back to it now. This lacks energy and direction. The vocal that Numan delivers does not fir the hyper faux jazz driven music..although it is still as removed and cold as ever. The females enter and fuck up the entire thing. This was a huge error in the Numan career.

Rumour—-This is a huge and wonderful return to form!!! Numan delivers a vocal that is so forlorn and sad…removed from the more upbeat leave you with the coldest and saddest feel that you received from the man in quite sometime. Even with the addition of the female back drop vocals, you never lose the sadness and melancholy…even pain that comes across in the vocal. This is wonderful!!!

I Die; You Die—-Revisiting one of the earliest hits by the Man, this live version brings so much live, electric energy to the song that I play it over and over before moving on. This is laden with the mystical and alien vocal that Numan built a career on. This is machine oriented…laden with science fiction references and enough cold feelings to keep Iceland in glaciers despite global warming!

The Sleep Room—-A song, that to tell you the truth, I really tend to forget about from time to time. This is full of majestic synth lines and a removed and cold vocal…but an incredible melody line that causes me to smile every single time I hear it. this is magical….full of cold and steely vocals..but wonderfully delivered with an emotion you can barely escape. This is one of those few moments from this time period that are like huge shining beacons of light and restitution.

My Breathing—-This is magnificent!!! Full of synth lines that are as worthy as the very best of numan material, this is addictive and a damn good song to boot. The rhythm lines that the band combined with the machines produce are incredible…and that is even before the vocal begins. Numan enters delivering his vocal is a higher tone than normal..simply screaming of emotion and need. This is a favorite…I freakin’ love the energy and the desolation of the track!

This Is Love—-Tender and intense from the onset, Numan sings in a tone that accessible and full of pain..this is sooo laden with naked emotion. This song has the ability to immediately deflate your mood if the timing is right. This is stark and the occasional saxophone line only adds to the loneliness of the whole damn thing. This is remarkable!

We Need It—-Almost sounding like an extension of the previous track, this is another track that begins with a huge melancholy sound…but bursts out at the seams with a return to the jazz influence and smashes the sedate feeling that you entered the track with. This is remarkable..if only for the vocal. I could do without all of the added horns…Numan has always done very well with his machines, but this manages a nice mix that plays very well all of these years later. Very Nice!!!

Emotion—-Beginning with a really nice bass line, the song is a bit ruined for me as it sinks back into the female vocal laden Bowie-esque sound that never really worked for him either. This is a miss in my book…the lyrics are really typical Numan, but the delivery is too crowded and convoluted.

Time To Die—-Just freakin’ BRILLIANT!!! This has all of the classic sounds of the songs that get on my nerves, the saxophone, the female backdrop vocals…but the entire thing is wrapped in a synth blanket of sadness that seems to go along with the sudden weather change of fall turning to winter. This is cold and detached, but delivered with more emotion that i sometimes have in my entire being…this is freakin’ BRILLIANT!!!

I Can’t Stop—-I should hate this song!!! This is full of all the annoying sounds from this Numan incarnation that i steadily complain about…yet, for some reason..this remains one of my favorite Numan songs EVER!!! I love the energy…the fun that Numan seems to be having and the middle finger that he strongly gives to everyone who thought he was long a thing of the past. This is fantastic.

Here I Am—-With a heavy 80’s synth line, this is classic stuff right here!!! This kind of Numan reminds me why I fell in love with this man. It is amazing the natural progression of tastes that I have followed…the obsession and fascination with Bowie…the introduction of Numan..the progression to bands like Ultravox…the gravitation to Morrissey…the utter fascination with The Pet Shop boys…it all seems like a natural growth or magical musical time line to me…this is the reason why…songs like this convince me I am right!

The Need—-Ending this release with an obnoxious track, there is no need to listen to the entire thing as I know it will leave a foul taste in my mouth. This is so crowded  with saxophone..deep bass guitar and female ‘soul’ singers that it is a general waste of time…and the fact that it goes on for a full 7 minutes…no thanks!!!

***3/4 out of 5

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