Gary Numan

The Fury

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Changing images to a second-rate Bryan Ferry on the cover was one thing (Numan himself later admitted it just made him look like "the man who lost it all at Monte Carlo"), but rather better was the musical change away from the overblown nonsense of Berserker. If The Fury wasn't a full return to form, at points it was still a step up, taking some of his better AOR/funk moves from the previous albums and welding them to the sort of choppy-yet-powerful electronic moves bands like Depeche Mode in particular made their own. If there's a bit of irony in Numan the pioneer turned into Numan the follower, that path had already been happening for a while yet, while he definitely plays to his overall strengths throughout. There's a greater focus on experimentalism this time out; his appreciation of sampling comes fully to the fore here, and at its best is no more or less effective than what near-contemporaries like Colourbox and Cabaret Voltaire also attempted at the time. Meanwhile, though there's still a definite need for editing at points when it comes to songs outstaying their welcome, Numan is notably much more upfront in the mix, his slippery quaver infusing the sometimes metronomic results with emotion. Even if he lyrically retreads a bit of ground -- "The Pleasure Skin" reflects on male prostitution and sexuality, something similar from early days on -- he knows how to provide the results with his own particular spin. Often the slower ballads connect best; "Miracles," with its bell-synth tinges and steady pace, could almost be a transposition of the Cocteau Twins to a much different setting. The low points still replicate Berserker's worst faults -- "This Disease," especially with the extremely unthrilling backing soul vocals, and "Tricks" just make for dancefloor fodder in between Robert Palmer and Glenn Frey.

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