Gary Numan

Dream Corrosion

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Touring for the Machine + Soul album had to have been a fairly distressing prospect for Numan, given how nearly complete a creative misfire it was for him. However, as Dream Corrosion perhaps surprisingly shows, if anything that tour found him reaching back to his past in creative and far-reaching fashion, making it the first concrete step in his '90s comeback. Though it was now his sixth (!) official live album -- and a decade and more away from his storming triumphs at Wembley following the release of Telekon -- Numan made a particular effort to make this one worthy. Though Live Dark Light stands up as the better live effort from the time, drawing as it does on Sacrifice instead of Machine + Soul, its blueprint can be found on Dream Corrosion. The sense of renewed purpose best comes from the set list; whereas past live albums had hit the highlights of his heyday with one or two album cuts, here Numan goes all-out to include obscurer but, by his fans, highly regarded songs like "Jo the Waiter" and "It Must Have Been Years." It's almost as if he's giving himself a recharge to find the spark again, though the curiously muddy mix on his vocals doesn't always let that shine through. Elsewhere there are flecks of pedestrian rock from his backing band's arrangements -- "Cars" and "Are 'Friends' Electric?" in particular have some fairly suspect moments. Still, what the performers lack in creativity they make up for with energy -- "That's Too Bad" in particular thrashes along -- while the introduction to "Down in the Park" makes for a notably creeped-out listen. Machine + Soul itself is barely touched beyond the title track, while only a few mid- to late-'80s numbers are played, more time killers between the real standouts. Though only hardcore Numan fans will want it, Dream Corrosion is still a noteworthy album in the musician's career.

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