Gary Numan

Pure

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One has to give credit to an '80s new wave musician who can adapt and create contemporary-sounding music. There are icons from that era who continue to release new recordings -- Depeche Mode and the Cure, for example -- but don't evolve musically; the sound is unchanging as if they were still back in the decade. This is not a bad thing, however; core listeners are usually who buy these artists' newly released albums and they don't generate new fans. That said, hats off to '80s Brit popster Gary Numan, best known for the hit "Cars," who offers up a modernized industrial-goth set in Pure. The album can comfortably sit alongside Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails on store shelves. Pure doesn't drive like the industrialized adrenaline rush that is, say, Orgy, but the tracks' lingering and creepy pace leaves behind a different kind of impact -- it's more haunting than relentless.

You can hear traces of that Brit-pop accent when Numan sings full on, as evidenced on, ironically, a song called "Listen to My Voice," but, otherwise, his vocals are just downright eerie. Pure is good, dark mood music, seasoned with menacing basslines, electronic crashes and spikes, and slow-grinding guitars. It's an effective pairing -- ghostly voice coupled with industrialized music; oftentimes this genre features scream-singing.

"Little Invitro" offers the album's darkest moment, lyrically and musically, describing a couple's guilt over an abotion. The song lingers long after the last note resonates. Numan still demonstrates his savvy on the synths, drawing up unique bell, string, and distorted voice sounds, but in a contemporary playing style. This is far from "Cars." Still, remove the Numan name, and one might chalk up Pure to be another industrial-goth album; there is nothing groundbreaking here. However, unlike some other artists from his '80s days, Numan has successfully adapted with the times, and there's something to be said for that.

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