When Krafterk became musical deities in the early 80s, they shut up shop and spent decades burnishing their legendary status. Gary Numan’s elevation to the electro-pop sainthood saw him take a different approach, ramping up his production without losing a grip on quality control. 2011’s Dead Son Rising was a gleeful patchwork of analogue electronica and the guitar crunch of his Tubeway Army days.
Numan, with help from Dead Son’s producer Ade Fenton, is rampant on Splinter. Kicking off with I Am Dust, it hangs together marvellously as an album, with tracks the likes of Everything Comes Down To This built around addictive choruses and analogue synth-lines that fight for mastery over beefy guitar riffs, furry bass-lines and beats that range from industrial clang (the aforementioned opener) to modern dance moves (Who Are You). Indeed, the title track sounds like a fusion of latter-day John Foxx and Ian Brown, with a big dose of Numan. Meanwhile, his lyrics move from confessional to sharply observational, and Numan is in magnificent voice, whispering on Here In The Black, letting out a mournful croon on My Last Day and Lost, and roaring on We’re The Unforgiven.