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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Gary Numan
Jagged
Metropolis Music

Rating: 8/10 ?


April 5, 2006
My-oh-my, there is much catching up to do here. In the aftermath of "Cars" (and the suspiciously "Cars"-like filler that comprised the balance of 1979's The Pleasure Principle), Gazza's flight path has kept him mostly under US radar while busying him with caviar-class toys, running a record label and reading gushing reviews of his own material in limey fishwrap like Melody Maker. This had been the plan from the start, of course; his boasting about retiring on the strength of the royalties generated by "Cars" brought a karmic smackdown later on: no matter how madly he waved his hands around, it barely caused a blip.

But it's a new era, one where subtlety is in short supply, and folks need to be spoon-fed their ambiance. With the release of Jagged, Numan has awoken to find his synths mortally relevant to a disco-goth scene that's lost Trent to systematic corporate torture, and he's gleefully pulled out all the stops, giving us three dimensions of glacially depressed, lost-soul slow-trance. Confused zaps of static fritz out warnings that there's something black lurking around every catchy corner of these dirges, most of them christened with one-word titles, viz. "Haunted," "Blind" and so on. The elephant in the room - same as back when Galaga was a miraculous piece of technology - is the verisimilitude of the songs, but this is a rare case of style overcoming substance, screw it. There's enough whoosh and fog and despair to challenge Birthday Massacre to a game of winner-take-all Texas Hold 'Em for bragging rights to the entire kingdom of cartoon goth.

The album highlight is undoubtedly "Fold," an epically mournful leveraging of the Wuthering Heights mystique complete with Numan drawing out the line "I hear you calling" as though he were perched atop the perfect rock being battered by the perfect waves around the perfect murky sea. The knee-deep layers of synth under his morose yodeling become allegorical, washing over the mix at full-strength during the coda and retreating back at the fade, snapping and crackling in vain, ultimately unable to drown out all the histrionic angst - a half-jest that will surely sail over the heads of Plain Jane vampire-goths, or a serious enunciation of Numan's self-inflicted loneliness?

The latter may actually be the safe bet. While all of Berlin was sleeping, dreaming safe dreams of the next EBM droner to clog the scene with phony disaffection, Numan toiled faithfully away at this, flogging it into submission. A niche product, yes, but it has raised the bar without question.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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