For the most part, these are upbeat, energetic tracks buzzing with fuzzy guitars and period, luminous overblown synth hooks. Moby has always confessed a love of artists like Joy Division and New Order, and you can hear echoes of those Manc legends in tracks like ‘The Light Is Clear In My Eyes’, opener ‘Hey! Hey!’ and ‘A Simple Love’, while ‘Don't Leave Me’ adopts a funky, eclectic stance before going all Billy Idol on you. Elsewhere, you hear big, anthemic flourishes on the stand-out ‘Are You Lost In The World Like Me?’ that Simple Minds and Devo would recognise as having come out of their own prodigious New Waviness, while some of the negativity and aggression that coloured the likes of ‘Animal Rights’ (1995) bubbles up again angrily on tracks like ‘Erupt & Matter’ and the amphetamine thrash of ‘And It Hurts’.
As (further) reinventions go, ‘These Systems Are Failing’ is annoyingly remarkable, and enduring proof that only one person on earth knows how to make sense of the path that the erstwhile Richard Melville Hall has taken and is taking: Moby himself. Ever mutable, always evolving, never anything but relentlessly restless. As the song here says, perhaps he is lost in the world, but he's doing it in style.
Moby says that musically he put in “everything I like: punk and post-punk and new wave and euphoric rave and yelling”, a barrage of alienated disillusion; but the Suicide-style electro-throb of “I Wait For You” and the industrial steamhammer motorik of “Don’t Leave Me” are the kinds of thing that sounded darkly new four decades ago, grim harbingers of a dehumanised future, but now seem just a bit dated. The scuttling electropop anthem of self-deception and dying dreams, “Hey! Hey!”, opens the album with focus and intensity, but it doesn’t take many tracks to blunt the impact of Moby’s relentless goosestepping drum programmes and shouty slogans.