Friday, January 18, 2008

Praying To The Alien

We were talking in the last post's Comments about The Lost Albums we bought on pre-recorded cassettes; shoddily assembled from pisspoor quality raw materials these never lasted - but sometimes you wanted an album so badly in a place you had no record player or sometimes your smalltown record shop's tape selection was so superior to its LP selection you bought one anyway, and of course later had to face the grim but inevitable consequences (wonky playback, stuttering rewind and 8 metres of untangleable spaghetti in your tape heads).

I bought this album on tape and spent many a late night listening to it in bed with my headphones on and a red lightbulb screwed in my bedsite lamp for that louche after hours ambiance (it's hard to buy red lightbulbs now; in the Seventies I think they used to sell them to go in 'coal effect' electric fires).

I loved it. But the tape died.

I missed the strange, dark, post-apocalyptic Philip K. Dick world carved out in those paranoid android lyrics and grim guitar-spattered synth riffs for a bit. But hey, there was The Big Wheels Of Motown to listen to; I moved on.

But here's the deal. Last year I downloaded the lot again from emusic; and thirty years later it still sounds great.

I know he ripped off Blade Runner and Low-era Bowie/Eno and I know he became a Cessna-flying Dave Lee Travis type country estate owning Tory-voting old bore in later years but seriously, listen to these again loud and thrill to the cold, sneery, on-the-cusp-of-post-punk-and-synthpop edginess that 78/9 era Numan/Army had.

Tubeway Army - 'Machman' (1979)
Tubeway Army - 'It Must Have Been Years' (1979)
Tubeway Army - 'Down In The Park' (1979)


  1. Bowie for Thickos. I was always torn about him because, on the one hand, he was a godawful noisy tory but on the other hand(s) the songs were rather good and Miss Perfect Skin was a big fan of his and it was always good to try to get into her good books.

  2. Loved this album, we used to play at my first part time job (Shelf stacker at the Co-op)when the shop had closed it was this and the'Life of Brian' soundtrack. It's like the pre girls Human League albums - they sound even better now, incredible and packed with fat analogue rumbles. My first cassette only albums were.
    Visage - 'Visage' its not that bad actually.
    Bowwowwow - 'See Jungle...' it is that bad actually
    H. League - 'Dare'

  3. 'Wheels Of Motown' cassette. Ha - I had that too. Left it unravelled and blowing in the wind in the car park at Stafford Bingley Hall.

  4. Ah no, I misled you DVD - mine was the LP, so I still have it.

    I dread to think what you were doing in the car park at Stafford Bingley Hall.


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