George Starostin's Reviews

JAPAN

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Introduction

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ALBUMS
ADOLESCENT SEX

David Lynch <davidtlynch@sympatico.ca> (22.07.2005)

Yours is probably the most positive assessment of the album Iíve seen. On this record the playing is more notable than the songwriting. Itís surprising that they had this control, when you consider that they were 19 or 20 at the time.

I think you describe the emotional tone very well, but I bet it was at least half-unconscious on their part. The bravado feels put-on and thereís a lot of confused music and lyrics.

It seems to me that this record could have served as a template for Franz Ferdinandís combination of sex, funk and punk, although itís a lot more obscure than the usual influences on them that get mentioned all the time, like Talking Heads and Gang of Four. Maybe Franz can spearhead an Adolescent Sex revival!

<Stephenprice1@aol.com> (02.09.2005)

Although it is different to any of the other albums, I think that it is a fantastic album, and certainly better than Obscure Alternatives, which, even though I like it, is their weakest album. Sylvian should not be ashamed.


OBSCURE ALTERNATIVES

David Lynch <davidtlynch@sympatico.ca> (22.07.2005)

I think Sylvian feels that Quiet Life was the ďreal startĒ of the band (his Japan compilation Exorcising Ghosts includes nothing that predates it). This isnít what most would call classic Japan, but itís a very intriguing album with 'Deviation' the only filler track. Compared to the debut, this album is more bleak, more angry, more decadent, all these things possibly exacerbated by touring. Itís still confused but more expressive. Although I find the song amusing, your description of 'Love Is Infectious' is totally apt.

I donít know what you mean about them ďavoiding syncopationĒ, though, because the rhythmic interplay of two guitars, bass, piano and drums on the verses of 'Automatic Gun' was the most astounding thing Japan had done up to this point, and some other instrumental bits are nearly as startling. Mick Karn was starting to develop his own style on the fretless bass. On the other hand, Rob Deanís guitar solos have become noisy for no good reason. A review at the time compared Japanís instrumental interplay to Captain Beefheartís Magic Band; imagine Bowie and Eno listening to Shiny Beast. 'The Tenant' was actually produced by Japan themselves after they kicked out Ray Singer, who produced the rest, one reason why it differs so much from the other songs.


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