BMG (CD, 2-LP, Cassette)
By John Curley
Intruder is Gary Numan’s 23rd studio album, including the two late 1970s albums under the Tubeway Army name. The album was recorded between sessions at Numan’s home studio in Los Angeles and at producer Ade Fenton’s studio in Bath, England. Intruder concerns climate change from the point of view of the Earth seeing its human inhabitants as a virus and wanting to get rid of them. It’s a difficult concept to take on, but Numan does so quite well on the album.
The album kicks off with the excellent and foreboding “Betrayed.” The song has heavy bass and synths, and Numan’s vocal starts out hushed but grows in intensity as the song progresses. Lead single “Intruder” features a strong, off-kilter Numan vocal. The mellow “A Black Sun” really stands out because it is a stark contrast from the heavy handedness of some of the other tracks. It’s measured and really outstanding. “The Chosen,” with a solid vocal by Numan, is atmospheric and somewhat intense. “The End of Dragons” contains a really nice bit with just Numan’s vocal, piano and light synth accompaniment. It gets heavier toward the end, but not overbearingly so. It works. There are two versions of the song on the album, and the second one contains a softer ending. The intense “When You Fall” features a terrific Numan vocal and just the right amount of synths.
The one flaw of the album is that some of the tracks rely too much on very heavy synths, which bludgeons the nuance out of them. And that’s really a shame, because Numan’s vocals are quite good throughout the album. That said, Intruder is an interesting piece of work, and most of its songs should work very well in a concert setting.