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Japan - Tin Drum  CD (album) cover




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3.23 | 83 ratings

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5 stars I guess I'm on the wrong website to review this album, considering the feeble score that 'Tin Drum' has received in the Archives. Personally, I think it's a classic. The problem is that it's not a prog album in any shape or form. Although, it is probably their most 'concept' album, if such a thing were possible, where there is a continuous feeling of the far east.

The only comparison is 'Yellow Magic Orchestra'. And that's pretty much it.

One of the most inventive and individual albums of the New Wave era of the early 80's. Japan came on in leaps and bounds by the time of 'Tin Drum' - creating an album unlike anything else at that time. Considering the way they sounded three years earlier, I find it incredible how much they developed so rapidly. Japan were far more sophisticated than other bands of the era and somewhat more humourlesss and cold which I guess is one of the reasons that people love taking digs at them.

There's actually quite a lot of 'Yellow Magic Orchestra' lurking about in here. It makes you wonder how much of an influence Sakamoto actually had on the band.

'Tin Drum' has had the misfortune of being discarded by Sylvian (bar Ghosts), and discarded by critics as being pretentious. People seem to love kicking the corpse of this album into oblivion.

One great thing about later Japan was the fact that there's so much 'space' in the recordings, where they weren't afraid to drop bass, guitars and even vocals for certain tracks. Most 80's bands had everyone playing at the same time on all songs.

Among the many highlights, the best is probably 'Sons of Pioneers' where Mick Karn is at the forefront with his brilliant wobbly fretless bass. A very foggy and atmospheric track. Sounding unlike any of their contemporaries, the jerky drumming by Steve Jansen is superb throughout, with many unusual time signatures, timbres and effects.

The cornerstone track 'Canton' takes Sylvian's Eastern obsession to it's furthest point, with wisely absent vocals but an array of percussion and a very oriental melange of sounds.

Mick Karn is the outstanding player on 'Tin Drum', giving it a very original flavour indeed. A musical triumph and in my top three albums of the 80's.

I'm giving it five stars for originality, execution and plain catchy tunes. Wonderful even after 30 years.

Dobermensch | 5/5 |


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