Tin Machine

Tin Machine

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A remarkable recording for many reasons, the debut of Tin Machine predates by nearly half a decade much of the guitar-oriented alternative pop that followed the grunge explosion of 1991-1992. This does not sound like Bowie in a band; missing are the quirkiness and theatrics that characterize much of Bowie's solo work. This is a band with a band attitude, not exactly what the fans were wanting at the time. Stunt guitarist Reeves Gabrels provides much in the way of ambient guitar solos, not unlike Adrian Belew's work. Drummer Hunt Sales provides a sticky tenor vocal similar to Bowie's own voice in a higher register; they blend very well together. The music is hard-edged guitar rock with an intelligence missing from much of the work of that genre at the time. Highlights include the emotional "Prisoner of Love" and the driving "Under the God." The band does a rocking rework of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero," with a killer machine-gun fire-sounding riff that permeated the track. The strongest analog to Bowie's earlier work is a five-minute number toward the beginning of the record called "I Can't Read"; with its deliberately out-of-tune guitars and half-hearted vocals, it's a nice piece of artistry. This record would have been more popular had it been released five or six years later.

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