Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Japan - Quiet Life CD (album) cover

QUIET LIFE

Japan

Prog Related


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The least we can say about "Japan" is that this band doesn't raise a lot interest on PA. I used to listen to them ages ago, and unlike mentioned in their bio, I did consider them as a post new-wave band and even New Romantic for their look.

It is then normal that the usual progheads are rather suspect with their releases. Actually, the band develops a more polished sound with their third album which is IMO better than their previous ones (but this was not difficult).

On this release, there will be a strong flavour of "Roxy Music" in the air. Mostly due to the smooth and almost crooner Sylvian vocals during most tracks. The bass line is also evoking this great band. But it is rather the late Roxy that is influential here. The one I didn't like that much. More pop oriented with an undisputable disco sound ("Fall In Love With Me").

The dark and slow mood of "Despair" contrasts with the other songs, but these six minutes are really dull and insipid. A natural sleeping pill. Just press next if you haven't fallen asleep.

"In Vogue" is probably one of the best songs from "Quiet Life". Indeed quiet, as most of this release. But it is only a poor man's "Roxy Music" tune (as "Alien"). But it wasn't really needed in those late seventies days. And the same reflection applies today as well.

The beat is catching a bit during "Halloween" but it is only a short break to avoid falling in a complete dullness which is reached with "All Tomorrow's Parties". And don't expect a brilliant closing number because The Other Side of Life does not belong to this category.

Still, it is probably better to enter their discography at this entry point instead of their earlier work, but there aren't really any standout tracks that might blow you away. Sub-par "Roxy". Does anyone fancy this ? This is a rather dispensable record. Two stars.

Report this review (#156698)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Japan´s third album Quiet Life were the third album from Japan in two years. The band has been through as massive development in sound in that short time and Quiet Life is a much more keyboard dominated album than Adolescent Sex and Obscure Alterneatives. In the same time the music has become a bit darker on Quiet Life than it was on the previous albums which is mainly due to the fact that David Sylvian sings in a much deeper register.

The music still sits between the soft sounds of the seventies and the more modern edgy sounds of the eighties, but this is a very eighties sounding album IMO. The darker edge in the music is examplified by songs like Despair, Quiet Life and Fall in Love with Me while there is also a little light in a song like All Tomorrow's Parties. A band like Talk Talk has surely listened to Japan and I would recommend fans of Talk Talk to take a listen to Quiet Life. The music isn´t very progressive but rather pop/ rock with innovative ideas.

The musicianship is very good on Quiet Life and as usual Mick Karn stands out with his brilliant bass playing. That man is on fire I tell you. Richard Barbieri ( Porcupine Tree) is very dominant here as the music is very keyboard orientated. Richard Barbieri. David Sylvian is of course the center of focus though with his emotional vocals. He is a much better and more diverse singer on Quiet Life than on previous releases.

The production is very good. It´s a pleasant sound which suits the music perfectly. Very polished and well produced.

This is a good album from Japan allthough it hasn´t got much to do with progressive rock IMO. With their continued development in style and sound Japan is well on their way into the eighties. People into early eighties new wave should find something to like about this album. I´ll rate it 3 stars as I find it if not exciting at least good.

Report this review (#170948)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars And Progress Found New Ways ... New Wave!

Back in the days when I was high into new & artsy waves, I always found it surprising and disappointing that everyone hated Prog so much. For me, both movements where just different expressions of the same urge to bring innovative and meaningful music. Some of the commotion about this topic seems to have blown over now, at least here. I have been pleasantly surprised to find many 21st Century prog fans with an open mind towards the issue. Quite an improvement over the time when Japan got bricks thrown at them when they were opening up for Blue Oyster Cult. (What an idea :-)

Japan's sense for musicianship, sophisticated arrangements, artsy attitude and the later involvement of some members with prog musicians sure make them a logical addition on the archives. All songs here are poignant art-rock songs that took the heritage of David Bowie and Roxy Music into the new decade. The bass and drum duo Karn/Jansen is a delight to listen to, and so is Barbieri on keys. His contribution to the Japan sound was always one of the features that attracted me to them, even though I didn't really like them initially. His later involvement with Porcupine Tree confirmed his creative and tasteful synth approach and made him into my favourite keyboard man. Sylvian adds some of his best vocals ever on this album.

A song like Quiet Life fared well in the post-punk clubs, other songs like Despair, In Vogue and The Other Side of Life are more intimate and reflective, stretched-out musings that leave more room for musical development. A sure influence on Talk Talk.

A good 20 years ago, Japan was a favourite band from one of those friends of mine who hated prog. So obviously I hated Japan, I would have thrown bricks at them any day! When I gave them another chance due to Barbieri's involvement with Porcupine Tree I was pleasantly surprised how fresh, classy and influential this band still sounded. A big 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#262437)
Posted Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The begining of the electronic Pop with the new music movement. The music is not the musician performance but the studio performance. Japan is an example of this context that give a comercial context but not quality. How many other artists done this movement? David Bowie, and all 80 decade groups that begin with a high quality music and change to a comercial and not interesting music. This album it's nothing special. Some parts are a litle spacey but the hearth of this album it's a pop comercial songs. I don't like this change and the electronic adiction to made music. I like some electronic works but with musicians with inspiration but this is not this work. 3 stars for the spacey parts but this is not a good stuff
Report this review (#287727)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars 80s New Wave is something I have really hated when it appeared as it was extremely stereotyped. All that keyboard sound made of Yamaha, Roland and Fairlight when possible, everything sounding in the same way. All these singers using their throats like David Bowie (or just trying to do it), the electronic drumming and all that waste of hair-gel.

But knowing that Ryuichi Sakamoto has worked with Japan and also knowing that this was the former band of David Sylvian I decided to try. I looked at the PA ratrings and this is why I have this album.

Unfortunately it is exactly what I could have expected: A 80s new wave album with Roland keyboards, Bowie like voice, electronic drums and looking at the cover sleeve, also a lot of hair-gel.

The songs are lightly dark, not very different from things like Depeche Mode, but there are some highlights. "Despair" is a David Sylvian's song, slow and athmospheric. Still close to Bowie, but the Bowie of Warszawa.

Sometimes it's possible to hear some spacey sounds with a Krautrock flavour but not too often.

"The other Side of Life" is the other decent song of the album and also the closing track. I don't like the too much standardised voice but if it was possible to erase it from the track, what's behind is Sylvian's stuff.

As counterparts there are things like "All Tomorrow's Parties" and the following "Aliens" that are the same poor 80s song. I think this is prog related because they were making 80s music in 1979.

I have listend to things worse than this in the 80s, and even if this could have been decent actually, I don't see a reason to give it another spin today.

For fans only.

Report this review (#300307)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Japan's more electronic "Roxy Music meets Ultravox" (Ultrarox?) sound starts to really take root on Quiet Life. Velvet Underground covers are always a gamble, particularly considering how exceptional the original material in question is, but they're able to work in a really nice take on All Tomorrow's Parties here which is one of those rare cases where a cover version is able to capture the stately melancholy of the original, and it's particularly impressive how it perfectly fits the ethereal atmosphere of the rest of the album. Richard Barbieri's synthesiser work coupled with David Sylvian's best Bryan Ferry posing creates some archetypal New Romantic material.
Report this review (#1151059)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

JAPAN Quiet Life ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of JAPAN Quiet Life


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives