Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gary Numan - Warriors

This week (September 16th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Warriors, the seventh studio album from English new-wave composer Gary Numan. This release spent six weeks total on the UK charts, peaking at number 12.

Joining Numan on the record were Tracey Ackerman (backing vocals), Russell Bell (guitar), Joe Hubbard (bass), Dick Morrissey (saxophone), Bill Nelson (guitar and keyboards), Chris Payne (keyboards and viola), Cedric Sharpley (drums), and John Webb (keyboards).

The title track “Warriors” leads off side one. As the first single, it reached number 20 in the UK and number 15 in Ireland. Numan used the lyrics to comment on his pop star status and how success fell out from under him. The music and his vocal delivery on this one remind me a bit of David Bowie.

“I Am Render” draws from the 1966 Roger Zelazny sci-fi novel The Dream Master with its lead character of Dr. Charles Render. I still have my paperback copy of the 1982 print of this book, which I was enticed to buy thanks to a cool cover illustration by Walter Velez. The vocals almost come across as a sort-of backwards masking delivery. The saxophone gives it an urban flavor while the percussion and other instruments contribute to a gritty, industrial mood.

“The Iceman Comes” carries with it a cold, sterile element to it. The sax here adds a melancholy layer to the piece.

“This Prison Moon” mixes a steady beat with swirling synth elements.

In 1982, Numan survived a near-fatal plane crash. That incident served as inspiration for the very danceable “My Centurion”.

Side two starts with “Sister Surprise”. This second single soared to number 32 in the UK and number 25 in Ireland. The album version is eight and half minutes in length. After a long instrumental opening, it breaks out into a pounding new-wave jam. This one reminds me quite a bit of early Thomas Dolby.

“The Tick Tock Man” has a funky groove beneath the synthesized surface.

Things slow down a bit with “Love Is Like Clock Law”, a fitting follow-up to the previous track.

“The Rhythm of the Evening” brings to a close the original vinyl release. Hubbard's bass playing is the highlight of this one for me.

I was familiar with some earlier tracks by Gary Numan, but this review was my first exposure to the music from Warriors. The album has a cool sci-fi sound to it that I definitely would have dug back in 1983.

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