Gary Numan's new album Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) - his 20th if you count two landmark Tubeway Army records in the late 70s - sounds more like Nine Inch Nails than his post-punk, electronica-pioneering prime.
Thus it comes as little surprise that the Englishman considers this his own Downward Spiral, created following a prolonged battle with depression.
"It's been seven years since the last album came out (2006's Jagged) and for the first four or five I had depression," Numan says from his new home in Los Angeles. "I was on medication, my wife got postnatal depression and we started to fall out. I probably went four years and didn't write a song. I started to call the album Sphincter."
Today the 55-year-old sounds surprisingly buoyant, chatting away in his characteristic West London burr about these recent dark days.
"I had weird stuff. I couldn't look at old people. I had a problem with getting older - I think it coincided with turning 50," Numan says.
"We had one child, then soon after we had a second and a third child and as much as I love my children, I really missed my old life. It felt like a big chunk of me had vanished. And I felt guilty about feeling that way and that messed me up." Medication didn't help, according to Numan.
"You go to doctors and they put you on tablets which stop you feeling extreme. Problem with that is when you've been on them a while you become a zombie. The thing about depression is you've got no drive, then the pills come along and you have the same sort of attitude from a different point of view - you still don't want to do anything because now you don't care."
What makes Splinter a fascinating listen is linking this troubled time with the different songs on the record. "I came off the tablets after a brilliant intervention by my wife and some friends made me realise I wasn't myself," Numan says.
"It's about that difficult period. There's a song called Lost, for example, which I wrote when I was thinking about walking away from my marriage, we was having such trouble. There's other songs on there about the children."
Numan's modern-day obsession with heavy industrial music tends to alienate as many fans as it attracts. On Splinter he collaborates with Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, and remains a close friend of frontman Trent Reznor.
"The thing I find interesting is that Trent's new album Hesitation Marks goes in the opposite direction," Numan considers. "It goes back to more early electro, where I've gone heavier. I find it fascinating that I'm sounding more like Trent and he's sounding more like me."
An Australian tour, potentially in March, is in the works.