Tribute to Pop // The album Numbskull by Lord Lumb is an unashamed celebration by an artist of his heroes. With name checks going to David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, his Lordship lays his cards of inspiration on the table within the first few lines of the opening track “I Dream Of Bowie”. This excellent piece of bouncing electronic pop rock, the result I am told of a dream about David Bowie, sets the scene for an album that is crammed with refreshing songs whose origins in the electronic music of the late 1970s is clear. 

Lord Numb - “Eileen” (MP3)

Lord Numb - “I Dream of Bowie” (MP3)

And Lord Numb certainly knows how to write songs. “A Man With A ? For A Face” skips along with Lord Numb’s trade mark combination of edgy live guitar and monophonic analogue synth sounds, driven by an urgent and mechanized drum beat.

However, this is certainly no exercise in Heritage Electronica. The gritty “Cubitt”, with its classic synth sounds and flat distorted guitars, is a good example of a track where Lord Numb makes good use of momentary glitches and contemporary production values to ensure that this is definitely an album for the Twenty First Century.

The floating and resonant “Never Going Home” brings down the tempo, mining similar territory to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, with it’s references to being lost in space far away from home.

This is an album both dark and humorous, that contains surprising juxtapositions of the familiar and the strange. The natural, often represented by the human voice and the guitar, is deployed as a taught counterpoint to electronic and machine sounds. Lord Numb’s undoubted talent as a songsmith provides an able frame work upon which lie layers and layers of intoxicating sound.

Like his hero, David Bowie, who at the height of his powers could mould an unfamiliar shape into catchy tune and, conversely, mutate a catchy tune into an unfamiliar shape, Numb is a master of the hook and the contorted sound. In this album he builds on his earlier material, like “Pipistrelle”, to produce a sound that, while referencing his heroes such as Bowie, Devo, Magazine and Neu (to name but a few), is distinctly Lord Numb.

What I love most about this album is its clarity of purpose, its concise approach to music making. There are no drifting, meandering, self indulgent tracks lasting 10 minutes or more, so often the curse of modern electronic music. There is no waste or waffle. The longest track tops out at a neat four minutes and seven seconds. This is a gem of an album.

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