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Replicas Live (Live)

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Album Review

Actually released one year ahead of the anniversary itself, Replicas: The 20th Anniversary Edition nevertheless pays fitting tribute to one of the most influential and, at the time, spellbinding albums of the post-punk afterglow, the first shot fired by an artist who had hitherto been written off as just another scratchy rent-a-punk no-hoper, reborn as the Future Personified. So much of Replicas would be absorbed into the mainstream that it is difficult today to appreciate just how vitally novel Numan and Tubeway Army's approach was. But the back-to-basics hiss and drone of the synths had hitherto been the province only of one-off "experimental" acts, unknown aside from elitist commentary in the pages of the U.K. music press. By distilling their essence into something that even your gran could like (or, at least, hum), Numan may, as his critics complained, have set the stage for the electro scene's rapid decay into synth pop fodder, but he also brought to stark fruition the punk promise that anyone could make a record — by proving that good ones could be made as well. The original Replicas album is here buoyed by a generous clutch of bonus tracks drawn from period B-sides and the album sessions themselves, while the accompanying booklet details the creation of the album in loving detail. A masterpiece is rendered more masterful than ever.


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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