Gary Numan and Tubeway Army: Replicas Redux (Beggars Banquet)

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Tubeway Army: Are Friends Electric? (demo version)
Gary Numan and Tubeway Army: Replicas Redux (Beggars Banquet)

It drones on for more than five minutes, doesn't have a chorus, seems to have some kind of sci-fi story and the band was in truth just one guy, Gary Numan, a monotone singer who had some eye-liner and bleached-out look going on.

On paper it couldn't succeed and in fact TA were largely ignored by the UK media until Numan performed Are Friends Electric? on The Old Grey Whistle Test, got picked up for Top of the Pops and . . .

The album which this classic electro-pop single came from is the chart-topping Replicas which also included Me I Disconnect From You, The Machman, Down in the Park and Praying to the Aliens -- but not, as many think, the hit single Cars which was on the follow-up TA album.

For longtime Numan fans -- and we include Beck, Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson and others in the list -- the good news is that Replicas has been given CD reissue as Replicas Redux and comes with another disc of Numan's original recordings of the album's tracks -- among them Are "Friends" Electric? on which he sounds oddly Australian.

Electro-pop never sounded so disarmingly disconnected from its time.

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