Smooth New Romantic Synth Music
Mark A. Carter | New York | 01/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1980 at the height of the New Wave explosion Japan managed to secure themselves a unique foothold on the music scene. After the very interesting Metallic Reggae stylings of `Obscure Alternatives' they came out with this all ultra-smooth outing. With the beautifully played Synths of `Richard Barbieri' who acknowledged his Eno-influences and the fabulously assured & powerful bass playing of `Mick Carn', the music beyond what most bands were able to accomplish in this genre. With big nods to Roxy Music, Brian Eno & David Bowie and the distinctive vocal stylings of David Sylvian they garnered themselves a big following in the U.K. although aside from `Ghosts' from their following album they never really hit the charts in a big way. This album has a very unique sound and was pretty advanced for the time - 1980. It's fabulously well produced and starts off with the super bouncy `Quiet Life' track which has great synth playing accompanied by the catchiest chorus line on the album. After this though the mood pretty much mellows out and everything is either mid-tempo (In Vogue) or slow (All Tomorrow's Parties). However this played to their strengths in creating atmospheric soundscapes. All in all a very unique album and a good reason why some albums need to be listened to as a whole rather than distilled into some of the numerous greatest hits packages `Japan' has out there right now which lose the feeling their individual albums had. For fans of New Wave/New-Romantic or just good Electronic Music from the early 80's."