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Album Review

By the release of their second album, Replicas, Gary Numan was the undisputed focal point and leader of icy electro-punkers Tubeway Army. And the move proved to be massively successful back home in the U.K., where both the album and the single "Are 'Friends' Electric?" topped the charts. The band had made a conscious effort to streamline the sound heard on its 1978 self-titled debut — the distorted guitar riffs were played on Moog synthesizers instead, and Numan had perfected his faux-space-age persona. And the paranoia that is very evident in the lyrics and vocals on Numan's next release, The Pleasure Principle, can be detected on Replicas. Another near-perfect album by the band, highlights are many — "Me! I Disconnect from You," "The Machman," "You Are in My Vision," and one of the most underrated new wave/synth-driven compositions of the whole era, the chilling ballad "Down in the Park." And out of all the Gary Numan/Beggars Banquet reissues, Replicas contains the strongest bonus tracks, such as never heard outtakes from the recording sessions, including "The Crazies," "Only a Downstat," and the B-side to the original "Are 'Friends' Electric?" single, "We Are So Fragile." [Note: In addition to bonus tracks, all of the Gary Numan/Begggars Banquet re-releases contain classic photographs and informative liner notes by Numan biographer Steve Malins.]

Biography

Born: 08 March 1958 in Hammersmith, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the founding fathers of synth pop, Gary Numan's influence extends far beyond his lone American hit, "Cars," which still stands as one of the defining new wave singles. That seminal track helped usher in the synth pop era on both sides of the Atlantic, especially his native U.K., where he was a genuine pop star and consistent hitmaker during the early '80s. Even after new wave had petered out, Numan's impact continued to make itself felt; his dark, paranoid vision, theatrically icy alien persona,...
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