Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
on 1 May 2004
For an album virtually disowned by the band and slated by reviews ever since, it is actually pretty good. It is, in so many ways, a million miles away from their classics, 'Gentlemen Take Polaroids' and 'Tin Drum'. Influenced by the early glam-rock sounds of Roxy Music and Bowie, it is Japan rocking out. But more than that, on a few tracks, there seems to be a heavy funk sound going on back there. And while it seems to jar with the punk aesthetic so widespread at the time, there are definite influences. But while it is so different from their later work, there are some definite links: Mick Karn's bass is still key (although far more straightforward and less adventurous); David Sylvian's voice still dominates, mixed quite high on most tracks; and Richard Barbieri is definitely enjoying getting to grips with his toys.
The album has a rawer, less particular feel about it, but for all that it, each of the songs seem to me to be complete and well-rounded. 'Suburban Love' has a Chic-feel to it, and feels slightly subversive. 'Adolescent Sex' sounds just as the title suggests - a little rough, a little fumbling, but kinda fun and naughty all the same. The Streisand cover, 'Don't Rain on my Parade' is performed with great gusto, and feels like fun - and so it should. 'Television' has a rhythm which could house a lounge-jazz tune, but gradually builds into a crescendo of frustrated angst - 'It's all you ever wanted!'.
All in all, it's never going to be their greatest album. But it has a variety of interesting qualities - which, if you are like me, is plenty enough to give it a listen. The flaws are there, for sure, but there is definitely something of note in there too. Give it a whirl, you might be glad you did. I was.