There we were one Sunday morning, sitting in bed, supping coffee, being kicked by the dogs trying to get comfy under the covers and perusing the interweb, I believe in Scotland it was known as hurkle-durkling, as we do. I came across a link on social media to a new track by Gary Numan called my “My Name Is Ruin”. It explained it was from his new album “Savage” and that one of his daughters sang on it. I hadn’t listened to Gary Numan in years. I’d been a big fan of Tubeway Army and my brother was particularly taken with his early solo records “The Pleasure Principle” and “Telekon” but inbetween, apart from the singles “We Are Glass” and “I Die You Die”, I hadn’t really paid him much mind. OK let’s have a listen…bloodyfeckinghell that’s fantastic…and that’s how I came to buy this album.
This was a revelation. I’d read in places that Numan had been name-checked as an influence on Depeche Mode (obviously) and others like Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein but this was the first time I’d heard it, and it was almost in reverse as this to me sounded like Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein (not the other way around if you get what I’m getting at). It was built from sequencers and big metal guitars and windswept sounding, desolate futurama. I also need to ask Erica (see last post) how much Numan she likes as there’s definitely common ground between “Savage…” and “Dark Music From A Warm Place”.
“Savage…” is a concept album in which Eastern and Western cultures have intermingled in a desert covered, post-apocalyptic world. “The songs are about the things that people do in such a harsh and terrifying environment…It's about a desperate need to survive and they do awful things in order to do so” the singer explained in interview.
That first song I heard online, “My Name Is Ruin”, could be heard as the album in one song. Rumbling synths, Gary singing over a rhythm track on the verses and then boom…here come piercing synths and the big metal guitars with the lift for the chorus. It’s bloody great and to be honest Gazza’s sound hasn’t changed so much since I was incessantly listening to “Replicas”, the technology that he uses has improved which gives him chance to do things now how he likely wanted them done 40 years ago (remember that thing with Kraftwerk wrestling with technology until it caught up with their ambitions).
My only gripe with this album is the song “And It All Began With You”, the chorus of which effectively lifts the main melody from the chorus of “Wicked Games” by Chris Isaak and I’m really surprised no-one pulled him up about it during the sessions. It’s a small gripe but one that needs airing.
I watched a BBC documentary about Gary Numan a few of years ago, it may well have been around the making of this album I don’t rightly recall, but the one thing that came over in the film was that he is a genuinely good guy, a really nice fella, so this latter day renaissance for him is something I can only wish him well with. I’ll keep a closer ear on him from now on.
My Name Is Ruin - https://youtu.be/lHomCiPFknY?si=Cs6EPOlqpUgAulwX