Tubeway Army
Replicas


5.0
classic

Review

by DarthJames USER (8 Reviews)
November 18th, 2013 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gary Numan dreams of electric sheep

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Gary Numan.

Numan is now of course the massively famous and influential electro-pop pioneer best known for 'cars'. You know the one:

"Here in my car, I feel safest of all, I can lock all my doors, it's the only way to live, in ca-ars. du duh da duh."

You'll know it when you hear it, he is one of those people whose influence is far more substantial than the man and the works he made himself. Although he did pop up on the mighty boosh and his songs have been sampled (famously by basement jaxx, not going to sing that one) and covered numerous times. In many ways, a cult hero.

But in 1979 him and his friends found themselves swept up by punk's appeal and the creativity one could find in post-punk, so they set up the band 'tube way army'. Their first release was a guitar based punk album, their second was this. Synth heavy post-punk songs that paved the way for the synth-pop bands of the early 80s, supposedly written on a mini-moog that had been left in their studio - it was about to be thrown in the garbage!
A MINI-MOOG FROM 1979 WAS GOING TO BE THROWN IN THE GARBAGE. Sorry I thought that was worth repeating.
Fate intervened and, inspired by Bowie's Berlin period and krautrock synth bands like kraftwerk, Numan and co. (pretty much just Numan) fashioned that signature sound.

It is a concept album, the story stemming from a sci-fi book (because let's face it every synth pop band was obsessed with science fiction), Numan could never write, about androids who take care of humans under orders by shadowy officials. And here comes the old Philip K. Dick presence, although he didn't take the name 'Replicas' from the android's names of 'replicants' as this only featured in the film 'blade runner' which was made three years after the release of this album - so there's that myth put to rest.

The music on the album can be perfectly summed up by the hit single 'are friends electric' a great and catchy song that propelled Numan into the public eye, and set him up for his first solo debut. It's a synth heavy affair, the mini-moog pounds away gorgeously (I LOVE SYNTHS) accompanied by the standard drums, bass and guitar. Whereas it would be easy to talk about the synths all day (I LOVE SYNTHS) and the basic yet hugely influential and catchy textures they create throughout the albums (lengthy) run-time, it would be a crime not to mention the band: They expertly accompany the moog, and the fusion of the two gives the album a heavy Berlin Bowie feel to it. This backing isn't ALWAYS the backing though, on tracks like "You Are in My Vision" and "It Must Have Been Years" it is very much guitar orientated, but it's that synth that gives this album that sci-fi and glorious layer to play with.

And they are glorious aren't they" so much so that Numan's next effort (solo album 'the pleasure principle', considered his best normally) had no guitar at all, and that lead him to the aforementioned cars - you know the one:

"Here in my car etc etc."

The catchiness and crispness of the synth lines and the comfort and easy-to-like sounds of the band just make this such a likeable, enjoyable (danceable even) and classic album. Numan's off-kilter vocals just add that touch of quirkiness to the hugely likeable tracks, geeky yet effortlessly stylish. It's just one of those easy listenable albums that still manages to stay with you, a sense of huge fun amongst the morbid sci-fi subject matter is always present and tracks like 'when the machines rock' just add to this factor.

So one to dig out and sing along to, I love the album and it's just a classic example of really really fun yet influential music. So when Cars comes on some advert or someone absentmindedly hums it...

"here in my..." remember!

he made this too!

Seek it out or rejoice in its existence either way Numan is your electric friend, and when he interweaves synth amongst the superb backing band you get one of the absolute magnificent gems of Post-Punk's mighty sub genre. Rejoice in the synth!

Gary Numan felt better, and fixed himself at last a cup of hot, black coffee.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
foxblood
November 18th 2013


9462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice! finally a review

DarthJames
November 18th 2013


30 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know! Why wasn't this reviewed!

bloc
November 18th 2013


52151 Comments


Only heard Are Friends Electric and love it

Digging: Symphony X - Underworld

unkle
November 19th 2013


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

excellent

xfearbefore
February 15th 2014


1696 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice to see this reviewed, great album with such an awesome cover. Gary Numan is so underrated man, who knows how new wave and synthpop would've developed without him.

Digging: S.O.D. - Speak English or Die

menawati
February 15th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

top man, saw him do stunts in his aeroplane at an airshow once

Cygnatti
April 13th 2014


32586 Comments


bmup

Digging: Mid-Air Thief - Crumbling

menawati
April 13th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

musta been a breeze recording this, some of the synth riffs are incredibly samey maybe thats the

concept though as in 'replicas', wow hang on he's a genius

sinsexsodomy
April 14th 2014


263 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

^ he never had any practice with Synths, i think he said in an interview when he made the first album he was just pressing random buttons on the instrument to give a little more background to his songs and this is only a year latter, not even.

menawati
April 14th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess it didnt turn out as random as he thought, anyway not dissing him i love this anyway

AnimalsAsSummit
October 6th 2015


3479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

holy crap i can't believe this is real

Digging: Toby Driver - They Are the Shield

Jeffrulesyou
December 19th 2016


1864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album! Gary Numan is the fucking shit

zakalwe
October 5th 2017


25772 Comments


Mena is missed. sob. Anyway album is the tits.

Jeffrulesyou
October 8th 2017


1864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, yes it is...

This was the future of my youth and of course Stark Trek ha ha.

ArsMoriendi
December 3rd 2017


23640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good stuff



I prefer The Pleasure Principle though.

Digging: Mazzy Star - She Hangs Brightly

ArsMoriendi
December 5th 2017


23640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Are 'Friends' Electric? might be the best thing on here



Props to the English for making it a #1 single



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