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Gentlemen Take Polaroids

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

Price: £12.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Gentlemen Take Polaroids
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  • Tin Drum
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Total price: £23.38
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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 April 1985)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B000025JUB
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,050 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gentlemen Take Polaroids
  2. Swing
  3. Burning Bridges
  4. My New Career
  5. Methods Of Dance
  6. Ain't That Peculiar
  7. Nightporter
  8. Taking Islands In Africa

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first two albums from Japan, `Adolescent Sex' and `Obscure Alternatives', were less than great - this might have been due to the New York Dolls-direction of those records and their unhappy tenure on Ariola-Hansa, whom they left for Virgin in 1980. Their third album `Quiet Life' and singles like `European Son' and the Moroder-collaboration `Life in Tokyo' showed a change in direction. The band took a sound influenced by Bowie (the Berlin era, including the Iggy Pop records) and Roxy Music (notably `Both Ends Burning'). Other influences were becoming apparent - Eno's `pop' albums of the early & mid Seventies, Talking Heads Eno-produced material & the work of Electronic pioneers, Yellow Magic Orchestra. `Quiet Life' was a transitional album, within a year the original Japan line-up of David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen & Rob Dean would record their first classic with `Gentlemen Take Polaroids.'

Produced by John Punter (though Sylvian was rumoured to have made his presence felt), the album was largely written by Sylvian; though this mid price reissue contains b sides `The Experience of Swimming' and `The Width of a Room' that were written respectively by Barbieri and Dean. Originally side two would have included `Some Kind of Fool', which is listed on some old vinyl versions of the record. For reasons unknown, this was replaced at the last minute by a version of Smokey Robinson's `Ain't That Peculiar' - in line with their previous cover of `I Second That Emotion' (though this is much closer in style to YMO). `Some Kind of Fool' finally got released in a remixed/re-recorded form on the Sylvian-compilation `Everything and Nothing' (2000).
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very difficult to listen impartially to this album again. Things experienced repeatedly in the teenage bedroom tend to be far greater than the sum of their parts - but what fascinating parts.

Don't believe the clumsy pigeon-holing of the list obsessed B-listers; Japan were never a New Romantic band. Yes they had the make-up and the sharp clothes (although always more Bowie than their contemporary's pantomime), but the music was icy, austere, and too complex for the pop manifesto and good time aspirations of that gang. Representing a sometimes awkward step between the smoother Young Americans sound of Quiet Life's disco torch and the disquieting detailed atmosphere of Tin Drum's taught skittering rhythms and entirely alien palette, Gentlemen... will polarize all who hear it. Those who hate it however will never do so for a lack of imagination, on Japan's part at least.

Give it a try (its also very cheap!).

P.S. For the drummers and bass players amongst you, you will never hear another rhythm section quite like Mick Karn and Steve Jansen.
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Format: Audio CD
As the synth led 80s genre goes this really is the yardstick by which all other such albums should be measured.

The Steve Nye production is silky smooth from start to finish, Sylvians writing and vocals are pure class and Mick Karns glorious bass should be listened to by bassists from all genres to teach them that it can be an instrument, not just a method of marking time.

Stand out tracks are the title track, Swing and Methods of Dance.

Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet would have loved to be this good!
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Format: Audio CD
I've been re-visiting this album recently and felt compelled to write a few words about it. First off, I'm largely a rock and metal fan. How can someone who likes Mastodon, Deftones, Rush, and general thrash metal, appreciate something like this, I hear you ask?..
Well, I first discovered Japan via 'Ghosts' on Top of the Pops when I was about 8 years old, and I remembered how haunting and unusual it was to anything else out there, at the time. They soon disappeared after, and with it, my memory of them, but then around early 2000's, a lot of interesting synth and electro music started to come through- The Faint, Sneaker Pimps (with Splinter and then Bloodsport), Ladytron, and of course NIN, and some heavier artists such as Fear Factory, were already favourites of mine. I was attracted to this style, as I was finding music at the time quite dull, and this dark-wave synth-orientated style- conscious music was just the remedy at the time.
Re-discovering some major influences, I stumbled upon Japan again, remembering how amazing Ghosts was- and I realised they had a some fantastic songs. I bought 'Exorcising Ghosts', which was a collection of songs ranging from Quiet Life/Gentlemen take Polaroids and Tin Drum.
I absolutely fell in love with their sound. It's almost unbelievable to imagine that they were creating this music in 1980, after suddenly abandoning their punkier edge, just moments before.
I then bought Gentlemen Takes Polaroids a few years later, and this is their definitive album in my opinion. They craft a sound that is truly visionary for a band that created it over 36 years ago!
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