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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much overlooked classic,
By A Customer
This was Gary Numan's first album to feature the heavy synth-driven machine music that is his trademark. The debut album, simply called Tubeway Army, was more a punk-rock affair. Replicas, released in 1979, is a classic album of its' time and has perhaps been overlooked by many who see Mr Numan as nothing other than an ersatz David Bowie. Sure enough, Numan was influenced by Bowie but let's face it, how many acts that appeared in the 80s weren't? Numan was obviously inspired by David Bowie's mid-70s work with Eno on the Berlin-era albums like Low and Hereos. It's clear that he was also influenced by other early pioneers of electronica such as Kraftwerk and pre-Midge Ure Ultravox. But that doesn't mean to say Gary Numan didn't make original music - he did and this album is the proof. Forget the later funk-rock experiments, messing about with aeroplanes and speaking up in support of Maggie Thatcher, Gary Numan never again matched the sheer brilliance of this album - a futuristic nightmare vision of a world controlled by replica humans, all set to sparsely arranged, haunting synth-based music. Sure, everybody knows Are Friends Electric?, but the real gems of this album are the lesser known tracks such as Replicas, Me I Disconnect From You and the utterly awesome Down In The Park. In my view, this album was never bettered and if there's one Gary Numan album you absolutley must own this is it.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars in the beggining,
Gary Numan has been for so long an underrated influence. Although detractors would point to cheesy synth lines and daft makeup the truth is that he introduced the synthesiser as a major force for the first time in the charts. Jean Michelle Jarre and Tangerine dream had both done much of value previously but they were appealing to a small cognescenti who were learning to value the synth, whereas Numan dragged the chart watching teenagers of the late 70's and early 80's around to his way of thinking and if you were to count up the amount of synth based albums and singles since 'are 'friends electric' you would get a clear picture of what a huge influence he has been.
Replicas is the album that launched Numan and pop synth and as time passes this albums stature simply grows and grows. Based heavily on Numans love of science fiction short stories by writers from the 50's & 60's and dissafection he creates a bleak landscape of loveless relationships and a world populated by machines and disafected humans.
The stand out tracks are the tone setting 'me I disconnect from you', the relentlessly grim 'down in the park', 'you are in my visions' empty guitar led despair and the seminal 'are 'friends electric'.
The album is devoid of any duff tracks and though you are likely to find favourites the chances are that more often than not you will listen to the whole album through as every track has something that will grab your attention.
The bonus tracks are more than fillers as well, in particular the frenetic ' do you need the service' and 'we are so fragile'.
The quality of mastering is far greater than in the original releases and the extra tracks make this even better value for money.
Numan would go on to reach even greater heights with the blisteringly good 'pleasure principle' and 'telekon' but this album is where to start, bleak, sterile and the voice of a million dissafected youths who were destined never to 'fit in' and who got Numans vision of an electronic future.
Some albums are 'must haves' if you want to trace musics long history of new branches and strong influences and this is one of them. It is still relevant, the tracks still resonate and it's the perfect launch pad for a long underrated and ignored musician, the electronic face of chart albums and singles that you take for granted started here and few are as fresh and sharp.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definiting moment in modern music,
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After the frenzy and fury of punk rock came this master piece following on from the first thrash album "tubeway army". It spawned the classic single "Are friends electric?" and at over 5 minutes an epic in Punk terms but throughout the album songs deal with machines running and controlling the way we live. Down in the Park (later covered by the foo fighters)stands out as the best song but all here are worthy contenders. Later albums never reproduced the unique atmosphere created on this album as the lure of pop stardom took its toll. Criticised as a Bowie clone by some,make no mistake, this album is original in every way. It will sit proudly on your shelf with "Never Mind the Bollocks" and "Give 'em enough rope".
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a high place in the evolution of synth rock,
Often cited by many contemporary artists (Leftfield, NIN, Marilyn Manson, Blur,) as a key influential album, Replicas should perhaps be more widely recognised for the place it has in modern music.
It was one of the first mainstream recordings to successfully combine guitars and synths into a formula that pleased the mass market. This blend is best exemplified in the by now legendary Are Friends Electric, which held the number one spot in the UK for four weeks in 1979. It returned to the same spot in 2001/2 (with a little help from the Sugababes) which only goes to show the longevity of the music contained in Replicas.
It was Numan's first "showcase" album. Recorded in late '78 and early '79 with best friend Paul Gardiner on bass, and his uncle Jess Lidyard standing in on drums, Replicas is both raw and polished. By Numan's own admission, his production is basic, and this remastered edition does nothing to hide that. However this only adds to the album's appeal. Drums are crisp, synths thin, and guitars chug and fuzz. The overall combination works though to give a varied atmospheric collection.
Lyrically, it takes heavily from William S Burroughs' dystopian future where humans and machines are dfficult to separate. Titles such as When the Machies Rock, I Nearly Married a Human and The Machman don't sound too far away from the sort of language you'd find in a Philip K Dick novel. As a teenager Numan was obsessed by sci-fi, so it's no surprise to hear it coming through here.
Me! I Disconnect From You opens the album with a lonesome synth hook and suddenly explodes into a beating whirling 3 minute post punk anthem. Next up is the ubiquitous Are Friends Electric and we're away. Replicas has many highlights: the guitar led The Machman, the almost orchestral Down in the Park, the dark brooding Replicas, and the closing instrumentals. The extra tracks are true bonuses in that they are very good. Wisely included, they are outakes from the Replicas sessions, recorded in 1978.
In all a very good album that should have a place on every true music fans' shelf. Arguably Replicas was as instrumental in the development of modern music as Low. Well worth a purchase.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NUMAN'S ABSOLUTE BEST !!!!!!,
I'm knocked down by this special edition 25th anniversary remaster ! This is the best album from his 70's period in my opinion.Why ? In that it combines kraftwerkian,minimalistic keyboard playing with heavy,punky powerhouse guitar riffing and a dry,pounding rhythm section (bassist Paul Gardiner remained my absolute fav for the following decade after I first heard this record back in `79) .The bonus tracks are mainly studio outtakes but are almost as good as the songs on the album.The rougher demo version of ¨ I Nearly Married A Human , the album closer,is fantastic.The sound is very good,a far cry from that on my lp and the increase in production values respecting their debut lp shows everywhere.Oniric,b-movie sci-fi lyrics play a key role even more than on their debut album. The quieter songs are of a hypnotic,almost mantric quality,with weird but awesome hooks.One of my top 10 records of all times .
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece,
This album was the very first Gary Numan album I bought (back in 2003 - yes, I know it's taken a long time to review this album!) and I have been a pretty devoted fan ever since.
There are some Numan classics on this album such as "Are 'Friends' Electric" and "Down In The Park", but there are other real treats on this album too, such as "I Nearly Married A Human" (versions 1 and 2), "We Have A Technical" and "Replicas" which I highly recommend.
What really makes "Replicas", in my opinion, is the sheer variety of each song. You get dystopian synth pop, punk guitars and some mesmerising instrumentals.
I would recommend this album to any Gary Numan fan, or those who are new to his music. There is so much variety in this - you will not be disappointed. It is one of his best albums.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for all not just Numan fans.,
I remember when i first heard the song ' are friends electric' i was hooked in a second, everything about it seemed alien and not quite right!!!, then i went a bought the album it came from 'Replicas' and discovered a whole new world of electronic music; every song on this cd is a real winner, and proves he was way way way ahead of his time, my favorite tracks are 'Replicas' 'The Machman' and of course the enigmatic and powerful 'Down in the Park' but all are good.
if theres one thing that lets this album down is that it ends :(... so i just restart it hehehehehe. this is the album that got me into electronic music and i've loved it ever since. while i love all of numans albums this is the one that gives me many ideas when i'm stuck. if i'm sat trying to write a song and get stuck, i put this on the player and just sit and listen.
buy this album you will never regret it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All time great LP !,
Before we start, let's get one thing straight - everyone is influenced by someone who came before them, the Beatles and Stones by Chuck Berry, Punk Bands by the New York Dolls, etc etc. So Gary Numan similarly, was influenced by David Bowie. The comparisons stop there. Original, innovative, ground breaking, ahead of its time, pick any or all of these adjectives and you only begin to describe how good this album is. And believe me it is very good, not just for those reasons but because every single song on this album is exceptional (including the bonus tracks). This album holds together as a unit to give you something much more than a collection of the great songs - the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This album should have spawned 3 or 4 big hits and it is a shame the next album was rushed out before this true masterpiece was given its duly deserved full time in the sun. Enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Numan's Concept Masterpiece,
...and coming so early into his recording career - only his second released album at that time. At its release in 1979, its substance as a classic concept work was probably lost in the hype surrounding his sudden and meteoric fame which lasted for the next three or four years. But what substance! the dystopian future containing androids, clones, replicants, psyches gone wrong; for a sci-fi fan like me it was then and still is manna from heaven. I'd list the stand-out tracks but they're all so good.
Included on this disc are not only the b-sides I treasured at the time of their release on Are Friends Electric? and Down in The Park, but also the three tracks which never made the cut for Replicas and forgotten about until 1985 when The Crazies, Only A Downstat and We Have A Technical were released by Beggars Banquet on a vinyl EP. I couldn't fathom why they didn't make it onto the Replicas album as they were all very much in keeping with the album, especially the dark and epic We Have A Technical. Perhaps if Replicas had come along as his fourth rather than his second offering we may well have seen a double album and greater freedom to record even more tracks....
What continues to surprise me is just how well it wears its age, not just musically but also the lyrics thanks in the main to the fact that they were ahead - or at least out of their time. Its tone-rich anologue synthesizers and raw guitars mate so well with crisp drums, Gary's vocals and lyrics blend perfectly well even with some admittedly odd lyrics and vocabulary. Every song has its story to tell, rather than a jumble of pompous and pretentious phrases which other bands or lyricists use. And like any great concept album the songs stand on their own, adding to the overall vision Gary created for us.
I can't say how a novice to Gary Numan would perceive it, but as a fan for many years, it's never left my list of top ten albums of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars And A Star Is Born!,
Coupled with the surprise mega-hit 'Are Friends Electric?' this is the album that catapaulted Gary Numan to fame in 1979. And rightly so, for it is a unique recording that captured his transition from punk rock guitar-slinger to synth pioneer at the perfect time to also capture the record-buying public's imagination.
So compared to the first Tubeway Army album, the guitars are dialled down and the synths more abundant, although certain guitar-driven songs made it through (The Machman, You Are In My Vision, It Must Have been Years), which help give the album it's signature hybrid sound.
Aside from the big hit single, other highlights include the classic 'Praying To The Aliens', live favourite 'Me, I Disconnect From You' and the rather spooky title track. The album also features the epic 'Down In The Park', although for me the studio version is a bit weedy (but checkout the live version from Living Ornaments 79...that kicks ass!)
This re-issue gives you the original album plus B-sides, including the should-have-been-an-A-side 'We Are So Fragile' and 'Do You Need The Service', a song which was arguably Numan's last hurrah as a guitar-hero.
It also contains the three missing tracks from the Replicas recording sessions, which first saw the light of day as part of a series of retrospective EPs in the mid-80's, and demonstrates what a creative roll Numan must have been on, to be able to leave such quality material on the cutting-room floor.
So plenty of interesting stuff for the fans, but if you're new to Replicas don't be put off by all the extras, just relax and let the original, classic, utterly peerless album wash over you. And if you like it, get your wallet ready, because the mighty 'Pleasure Principle' was just round the corner and believe me, you are going to need that too!
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