Replicas Redux Import
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Can it really be thirty years since Gary Numan led Tubeway Army over the top, out of the trenches and into the no-man's land of post-punk electronica? Apparently it can, and this deluxe reissue of Replicas, now bundled with a bonus disc of singles, B-sides and early versions of the original tracks, is an appropriate tribute to one of rock's renaissance men. Numan played everything, bar bass and drums, on the album, only recruiting his Army when he was ready to advance into touring. The shock and awe generated by the first single from this album - Are 'Friends' Electric? - was only reinforced by his part-robot, part-Bowie-as-alien image. Rapidly accumulating sufficient technology and self-confidence to go solo, Numan went on to blitz the album charts and invade stadiums around the world for half the next decade.
Replicas was the second album by the band, Tubeway Army, though by this point it was Numan who was the focus; going solo following the success of this album. He helped spearhead the liberation of synthesiser music from hideous mistreatment in the gulag of deadly serious progessive rock. Using early Ultravox and Bowie and Eno's Low as his touchstones he achieved commercial recognition while maintaining the icy dislocation, key to the sci-fi 'machine' phase of the Ashford boy's career. Filled with numbers that would withstand the ravages of time and remain in Numan's setlist for years such as Me! I Disconnect From You and Down In The Park, the album, amazingly, still sounds fresh.
A lot of this has to do with the current trend of all things analog and old-style. The fat, warm synth tones are employed (along with early drum machines - another cool modern trope) to great effect here. Allowing Numan's bleat to ride simple yet effective tunes. Numan's dystopian vision was responsible for a host of Marilyn Mansun-type sins. Yet that would be like blaming Black Sabbath for all the rubbish metal that followed in their wake. And like Sabbath the original material is still as doomily brilliant as ever. Replicas may not be the most sophisticated end of electronica, but its very simplicity makes it as timeless as hell.
Having confessed both to a hair transplant and a best-hidden admiration for Mrs Thatcher's premiership, his UK career underwent a nosedive in the '80s as desperately frightening as the one he piloted himself through shortly after gaining his pilot's licence. Yet it appears that Gary, after years of being the butt of so many jokes, is having the last laugh. --Al Spicer
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Top Customer Reviews
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 on Disc 1, 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.
Disc 2 gives you demos and alternative mixes of the album, plus 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!
Roll on 25 years or so...my brother played me a track of this synth compilation - one of the tracks was 'Praying to the Aliens' by Gary Numan. This one grew on me and my brother. So I downloaded Replicas....and then the Gary Numan addiction started! Needless to say, I bought Pleasure Principle, Replicas and Telekon soon after.
What can I say? I dont like these because of nostalgia etc - Ive only been listening to these albums for about six months now! (non-stop I hasten to add!). Pleasure Principle is my favourite (just) with Replicas and Telekon a close second and third (dont underestimate Telekon - it really grows on you!). I couldnt name a favourite track only to say that dont think Gary Numan is a two-hit wonder (Cars and Are Friends Electric?) because he is definitely not. I would say that Im not so keen on his new stuff though as its a bit industrial for me.
If you like the old 80s synth stuff, if you like House, if you like weird electronic stuff - you NEED these three albums. Its as simple as that. If you think that all these oh-so-dull modern indie/rock bands are getting too much give these a go - you might like them, you might love them!
Also - dont forget the Pleasure Principle tour at the end of the year, Ive got my tickets already!
This album (together with its follow up, Pleasure Principle) must have financed Beggars Banquet for a good few years after its original release, so it's good of them to return the favour nearly 30 years later with a special reissue to coincide with Numan taking Replicas on the road this spring.
This album, a seminal UK electronica recording if ever there was one, made Numan a mainstream star. He may not have been the first, Ultravox had been clashing guitars with synths for a couple of years previous (check out Ha Ha Ha), and if you want to be a purist about it, Pete Townshend had layered Moogs all over Who's Next back in 1971, but Numan was the first to register mass appeal with a synth-based sound. Actually, the contrast with The Who is an interesting one because Replicas is as much a concept album as Tommy or Quadrophenia, albeit one inspired by science-fiction, and Philip K. Dick in particular. Its imagery is pure Bladerunner, a film that appeared a couple of years later.
This special edition comes packaged with a second disc which includes all those troublesome to find b-sides and rarities, of which "We Have A Technical" and "Do You Need The Service?" will find their way onto plenty of iPods. It would have been nice if Beggars had finally found a CD home for the "Bombers" single, but what are you going to do? 10/10.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great album defining Numan before he did what was I'm my opinion his best album ever to date The Pleasure Principle.Published 13 months ago by G V
Big Numan fan since 1978. Bought this to update my collection. To many people, this was one of two definitive Numan albums.Published 21 months ago by Enjay
How do I jusify spending £15 on an album that is the best part of 35 years old is the question I asked myself. I have it on vinyl , and on my PC , so why ? Read morePublished on 1 Feb. 2013 by Paulus6
My favorite Numan album. The sound quality on all tracks is excellent. The demos are great quality and in most cases just as good as the final versions so well worth the money.Published on 24 Feb. 2011 by Mark One
Of course, there are some classic tracks on here and there are people that will buy every release of his despite the fact there is nothing really new to talk about. Read morePublished on 29 May 2010 by Mark Hughes
As with "The Pleasure Principle 30th Anniversary Edition" the sound quality of the original album is much improved compared to the previous releases on CD, but once again we have a... Read morePublished on 23 April 2010 by P. Long
A wonderful introduction if you've never heard of Gary Numan / Tubeway Army from the 80's & a great reminder if you ever went to the concerts.
Beautiful nostalgia... Read more