“Obscure Alternatives” by Japan - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

They stick with the German Ariola Hansa label for this October '78 release and prove to all and sundry what a difference six months can make; “Obscure Alternatives” significantly improves upon the first, raising a whole two points in my ratings system. The 5-piece remain: David Sylvian (vocals, guitar), Rob Dean (guitar, backing vocals), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), Mick Karn (bass, saxophone, backing vocals) and Steve Jansen (drums, percussion, backing vocals). At the heart of side one is a very decent reggae-dubbeat one-two with “…Rhodesia” and “Love Is Infectious”, Sylvian, at last, finding a punk sneer, firmly placing the group in a hipper, trendier and altogether more enjoyable place. It's this dubbeat style which raises the bar for me again on side two via the title-track, which gets a properly moody groove on over the course of its incessant seven minutes. The same tricks are at play on “Suburban Berlin”, which features some of Karn's famous bendy bass technique to good effect. Another seven-minute piece, “The Tenant”, closes in dark tones, the piano-led instrumental being accompanied by bursts of sax (Karn adding a new string to his bow there) and guitar as the Pink Floyd meets Brian Eno journey develops. “The second album is okay as a first album” Sylvian would later remark. He's bang on and that honesty goes a long way with me.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:07] 4.8.png Japan - Automatic Gun (David Sylvian) New Wave
A2 [06:48] 5.6.png Japan - …Rhodesia (David Sylvian) Reggae
A3 [04:10] 6.1.png Japan - Love Is Infectious (David Sylvian) Dubbeat
A4 [03:46] 4.8.png Japan - Sometimes I Feel So Low (David Sylvian) New Wave
B1 [06:50] 7.0.png Japan - Obscure Alternatives (David Sylvian) Dubbeat
B2 [03:23] 4.6.png Japan - Deviation (David Sylvian) Cerebral Pop
B3 [04:59] 6.4.png Japan - Suburban Berlin (David Sylvian) New Wave
B4 [07:14] 6.8.png Japan - The Tenant (David Sylvian) Moodcore

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved