Gentlemen Take Polaroids [Bonus Track]

Gentlemen Take Polaroids [Bonus Track]

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The last album with Rob Dean, Gentlemen Take Polaroids was also unquestionably the album in which Japan truly found its own unique voice and aesthetic approach. The glam influences still hung heavy, particularly from Roxy Music, but now the band found itself starting to affect others in turn.

Overview

The last album with Rob Dean, Gentlemen Take Polaroids was also unquestionably the album in which Japan truly found its own unique voice and aesthetic approach. The glam influences still hung heavy, particularly from Roxy Music, but now the band found itself starting to affect others in turn. Even the back cover photo says as much -- looking cool in glossy, elegant night wear, the quintet had a clear impact on Duran Duran, to the point where Nick Rhodes obviously was trying to be Sylvian in appearance. Musically, meanwhile, the swooning, hyper elegant Euro-disco sheen of Quiet Life was polished to an even finer edge throughout, the title track and the obvious descendant of "Quiet Life" itself, "Methods of Dance," in particular sheer standouts. Sylvian's sighing, luscious croon is in full effect on both, and the arrangements are astonishing, Karn's fretless purring between Jansen's crisp, inventive, and varied drumming, Barbieri's icy keyboards filling out the corners. What makes Gentlemen Take Polaroids even more of a success is how the group, having reached such a polished peak, kept driving behind it, transforming their exquisite pop into something even more artistic and unique. "Swing," in particular, is an astounding showcase for the Karn/Jansen team; snaky funk at once dramatic and precisely chilled, brass section blasts adding just enough wry, precise sleaze, Sylvian delivering with focus and intensity while not raising his voice at all. "Nightporter," meanwhile, is a hyper ballad and then some; a slow-paced semi-waltz with Barbieri's piano taking the lead throughout with wonderful results. Further hints of the future come with the album closing "Taking Islands In Africa," which Sylvian co-wrote with future regular collaborator Ryuichi Sakamato, and which wraps up the whole experience with a gliding, supple grace. [The expanded edition includes a remix of "Taking Islands In Africa" by Steve Nye]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/24/2007
Label:
Caroline
UPC:
0094636305721
catalogNumber:
63057

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Gentlemen Take Polaroids 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gentlemen Take Polaroids remains Japan's finest acheivement: it's a spectacular album full of sleek, beautiful, funky and exciting pop music. The title track set a challenge that all the New Romantic bands that the group influenced failed to equal, let alone surpass, while the magnificent 'Swing' and 'Methods of Dance' are peerless examples of futurist pop that still sound fresh and dazzling today. The instrumental 'Burning Bridges' owes a clear debt to the score for Apocalypse Now, but stands out as a moody, brooding and amazing piece of music on its own. A cover of Marvin Gaye's 'Ain't That Peculiar' is given a sound and a feel all of its own, transforming the swing of the original version into an angular, striking strut. Best of all though are the crooning, swooning splendour of 'My New Career' which remains the band's most dreamy, seductive song, the Erik Satie influenced and utterly gorgeous 'Nightporter' and the forward looking, spectacular grace of closing track 'Taking Islands in Africa', which points the way towards the exciting and inventive sounds of their next and final album, Tin Drum. The new Japan sound that was announced on Quiet Life has reached something of a peak here, with David Sylvian now completely immersed in his new smooth, understated and lush vocal style, and Mick Karn's amazing bass playing reaching new heights of complex fluidity. The 2003 reissue is definitely the best available purchase, thanks to the imclusion of the astoundingly fine instrumental 'The Experience of Swimming', as well as a remix of 'Taking Islands in Africa' and the slight but effective instrumental 'The Width of a Room'. Gentlemen Take Polaroids is one of the finest albums ever made, a flawless, perfectly arranged and addictive treat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gentlemen Take Polaroids is an outstanding production. In the post punk era, Japan recorded an avant-gardist work, when they were under pressure in a new label -Virgin Records- trying to find a new level of sound, following the Quiet Life legacy. There is no doubt about the influence on Duran Duran's sound and look. I really like all songs, but my favorites are Swing, My New Career, Nightporter. I just can say one thing: buy this album, you won't be dissapointed. An eternal classic. Maybe the best early 80's album. An album that has outlasted its era.