RERELEASE ALBUM BEGGARS BANQUET, PLAYGROUND RELEASE: NOVEMBER 8, 1999 REVIEW: NOVEMBER 24, 1999
"Dance", originally released in 1981, is Gary Numan's difficult, experimental album. Apparently Numan saw bands like Human League, Soft Cell and Depeche Mode breaking into his synthpop area and recognized the need to reinvent himself. Opting for a '30s gangster look - the photos in the booklet for this record are absolutely priceless! - he dealt himself a new hand of cards. On these were written things like "Lou Reed's Berlin", "Brian Eno's Another Green World" and "William Burroughs' Naked Lunch", in addition to the "Ziggy Stardust" card he always kept hidden in his sleeve.
This is probably the most interesting, if not exactly the most catchy of Numan's recordings. It resembles early trip hop in it's inventive spirit. Numan sees no problems with a varied instrumentation with synthesizers, violins and handclaps. His voice, like a high pitched David Bowie, being the only constant in a changing world of sounds. The world of "Dance" is shrouded in cigarette smoke, with hazy figures drinking Beaujolais in clubs; femme fatales and androgynous bisexuals in a predatory dance under flickering neon lights. Stretches of instrumental beauty, like "Cry the Clock Said" changes the rhythm of the album, invoking the long walk home from the club at night, newspapers rustling in the gutters.
A beautiful vision. Dated, perhaps, and very kitsch. But beautiful nonetheless.