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Japan - Tin Drum CD (album) cover




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3.25 | 94 ratings

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4 stars This album, along with Talk Talk's THE COLOUR OF SPRING and Talking Head's REMAIN IN LIGHT, really expanded the (synth)-pop idiom in the 1980s and brought global influences into Western popular music. While Talking Heads and Talk Talk's sounds were primarily influenced by African choruses and polyrhythms, Japan sought to use Eastern-tinged instrumentation in their art-glam-synth-pop. These influences can clearly be heard on the songs "Talking Drum" and "Canton." Even Mick Kern's fretless bass lines mimic Japanese and Middle Eastern half-tones! Rhythmically, Steve Jansen's drumming the funk stylings of their contemporaries, but the percussive textures used within the context of these rhythms reflect the sounds of talking drums, darboukas, and Taiko drums as well as typical electronic sounds. Due to the absence of Japan's original guitarist Rob Dean, most of the melody lines are carried by synth-wizard Richard Barbieri (currently of Porcupine Tree). And then there's David Sylvian's vocals. He still has some of that Bowie/Ferry croon in him, but his voice is much more subdued compared to previous performances. In some ways, his voice is less of a standout a part of the music than Mick Kern's bass--though this is NOT a bad thing. TIN DRUM is Japan's best album by a longshot and one of my personal favorite albums of the 1980s, period. Recommended if you like David Bowie, Roxy Music, Talk Talk, or Talking Heads. GRADE: A- (92%)
volta3 | 4/5 |


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