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Japan - Tin Drum  CD (album) cover




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3.23 | 83 ratings

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3 stars Tin Drum is the fifth and last studio album from British act Japan. Japan really impressed me with their previous album from 1980 called Gentlemen Take Polaroids. I loved the mood, the excellent production and of course the great musicianship within the band on that album. Itīs not a very progressive or challenging album, I just enjoy the music for what it is. Tin Drum continues the style but with a few changes. Since recording Gentlemen Take Polaroids guitarist Rob Dean has left the band and there are notably less guitar on Tin Drum as a result of that even though David Sylvian plays a few strokes here and there on the album. Another feature that is very evident on Tin Drum is the oriental influence in some of the keyboard melodies. The drumming seems a bit more electronic too. The overall sound takes influences from both new wave and the more decadent seventies artists like David Bowie and Roxie Music, allthough Tin Drum is much more and eighties album than any other album from Japan.

The oriental influence is evident in songs like the instrumental Canton, in the middle section of Still Life in Mobile Homes, Visions of China and in Cantonese Boy. My favorites on the album is the beautiful Ghosts and the intriguing Still Life in Mobile Homes while I find opener The Art of Parties way too repetitive. Sons of Pioneers is also a bit too long, but I really enjoy Mick Karnīs bass playing in that song.

The musicianship is excellent and weīre treated with all sorts of eighties keyboard sounds from Richard Barbieri. I love the paatos filled vocals from David Sylvian but Mick Karn takes the price as usual. His bass lines are so inspiring and challenging. Without him this music wouldnīt have been as good as it is.

The production is great even though I prefer the more calm sound on Gentlemen Take Polaroids.

Tin Drum is a good album but overall Iīm not as happy about it as I was about Gentlemen Take Polaroids. The drums have become just a notch to electronic and I canīt say that I enjoy the oriental influence much either. Tin Drum is a 3 star album IMO.

I have now made reviews of all five studio albums by Japan and I will rank them in this order: Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980), Quiet Life (1979), Tin Drum (1981), Obscure Alternatives (1978) and Adolescent Sex (1978). So my advice to anyone interested in learning more about Japanīs music is that you start with Genlemen Take Polaroids. I think itīs the best effort from the band. Make sure you get the re-issue with bonus tracks because they are definitely worth a listen.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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