I always had a love/hate thing with Japan. I think I liked the idea of them more than the execution. I'm still sniffy about "Adolescent Sex", "Obscure Alternatives" and "Quiet Life", although they all have their moments. But "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" made the leap from "half arsed new-romantic art rock" to "Holy Shit, that's awesome!".
Somehow, they managed to be weird, uncompromising and completely "out there" while having fantastic pop hits. Japan gigs were a strange affair, too. Many teens wanting to scream and wail in one half of the venue, well beard stroking art hippies brooded in the other side. All the while, the band seemed entirely indifferent to either contingent and played note perfect copies of the albums. Baffling and completely alienating.
Then Came Tin Drum, which upped the alienation ante. An album that is practically perfect and answers to no-one. Sons of Pioneers is a stately track that unfolds at it's own pace. Simply beautiful.