While listening to Intruder on a gloomy Makuru afternoon, it struck me how apt of a soundtrack this was to accompany the grey skies outside. This is definitely not a cheery album – rather, it is thirteen tracks contemplating ecological collapse, through the perspective of the Earth itself. The result is a seething, claustrophobic, apocalyptic album that while occasionally drifts into melodrama, is largely thrilling in scope and ambition.
Doomsday prepping has never sounded so fashionably goth.
From the first track, ‘Betrayal’, Numan pulls no punches – “I am betrayed,” he snarls as he channels how the planet might feel of its dominant, bipedal inhabitants, causing toxic havoc on its surface. “You were mine and I worshipped you / You were mine, but I was betrayed”.
Elsewhere, Numan channels the puzzlement of a heartbroken planet, wondering when its inhabitants will finally show some concern. “Is this world not enough?” he muses on the track bearing that title. “Tell me, will you stop / When everything lies broken in the dust?” ‘It Breaks Me Again’ is a self-explanatory track (albeit over-dramatic at times), with the Earth taking on an air of resignation: Is this all life is / Just waiting for sorrow? / And is sorrow to remind us / That life is a moment in time? / But how I have loved you /And love is all life needs to be”.
One of the highlights of the album is ‘The Gift’, which begins with a disconcertingly dissonant layer of harmonics and static, before easing into a sinuous synth line that eventually expands into a soaring chorus, replete with Eastern-tinged strings. ‘Saints And Liars’ is tailor-made for a late-night goth club dancefloor, with its blissfully fuzzed-out bass line. The same can be said of Intruder, featuring a mid-tempo, stomping beat acting as an anchor for Numan’s distinctive vocals.
Intruder shows that Numan’s creative heart still beats ferociously after 18 solo albums. Doomsday prepping has never sounded so fashionably goth.
Get your hands on Intruder here.