Gentlemen Take Polaroids
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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.
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!
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!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb eighties album from Japan. Some serious musicianship going on.Great synth sounds and excellent drums and bass. A true classic.Published 5 months ago by JONESY
One of my favourite bands ever, and one of my favourite albums of all time - I wore out two vinyl copies playing and replaying tracks like 'Swing', 'My New Career', 'Taking Islands... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Brian Artillery
Great release from one of my favorite bands from a long time ago. This was Japan in their Roxy phase as they developed towards finding their own identity but it's a great... Read morePublished 13 months ago by M. Dawson
Japan are, or should I say were a bit of an enigma. A band that went on to influence a generation of ambient synth based pop groups who were more than a bit influenced themselves... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Stephen Evans
Perhaps the best album that they have produced? The rhythm section is particularly classy, with Mick Karn on prime form. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mystic Man
Classic! Japan's seminal album - remastered. I can't believe it's from 1980.Published 14 months ago by email@example.com