“Tubeway Army” by Tubeway Army - album review

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

TJR says

10th February 1978 was a bit of a monumental day in the life of Gary Webb. With just under a month left as a teenager, he quit his job in a warehouse to become a professional musician. By way of no co-incidence, it was the very same day that his band, Tubeway Army, released their debut single, the punk-ish “That's Too Bad” on the new indie label, Beggars Banquet. It didn't chart but sold it's run of 4,000 copies, enough to keep everyone motivated. Keeping the momentum going, a second single, “Bombers”, was delivered in the summer of '78, with a smoother brand of Bowie-inspired new wave rock. The striking thing was the strange-but-compelling humanly-robotic voice which emerged from the speakers, standing out from everyone else. None of these singles were included on the debut album which arrived in November '78. This probably seemed like a good idea at the time but, with hindsight, the album's retrospective status is slightly lessened.

The London trio line-up: (the newly named) Gary Numan (20, guitars, lead vocals, keyboards), Paul Gardiner (20, bass guitar, backing vocals) and Jess Lidyard (28, drums). Jess was Gary's Uncle, and had been in the business for several years already. He offered some insight into how the Tubeway Army took one step away from the rock: “When we recorded the Blue album in summer 1978, Paul, Gary and I did something like 15 or 16 tracks through the night, just bashing through them. Another band had left their gear in the studio. They’d obviously done a previous session and one of the things they’d left behind was this Moog synthesizer. Gary started playing around with it but I left the next morning because I’d done all my parts. When I heard it next, Gary had added keyboards to the songs. I was surprised but a lot of the material was still quite familiar.” The story is now the stuff of legend!

“Tubeway Army” was the fourth LP to be released on Beggars Banquet and 5,000 copies were pressed up, all on blue vinyl, in keeping with the front cover's design. The gatefold sleeve opened up to display the printed lyrics for all songs, revealing the fascinating frontman's lyrical topics to include everything from science fiction to androids to prostitution to drug addiction. There's much to take in on this likeable debut, which hints at giving Ultravox some company on the experimental synth-pop front. You get the feeling something's happening…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:06] 7.6.png Tubeway Army - Listen To The Sirens (Gary Webb) Post-Punk
A2 [02:59] 7.2.png Tubeway Army - My Shadow In Vain (Gary Webb) New Wave
A3 [02:45] 7.5.png Tubeway Army - The Life Machine (Gary Webb) New Wave
A4 [02:30] 6.5.png Tubeway Army - Friends (Gary Webb) Post-Punk
A5 [04:14] 6.0.png Tubeway Army - Something’s In The House (Gary Webb) Post-Punk
A6 [02:24] 6.1.png Tubeway Army - Everyday I Die (Gary Webb) New Wave
B1 [04:44] 5.4.png Tubeway Army - Steel And You (Gary Webb) Post-Punk
B2 [03:33] 5.5.png Tubeway Army - My Love Is A Liquid (Gary Webb) Electronica
B3 [03:25] 6.0.png Tubeway Army - Are You Real? (Gary Webb) Rock
B4 [03:38] 6.8.png Tubeway Army - The Dream Police (Gary Webb) New Wave
B5 [02:41] 8.4.png Tubeway Army - Jo The Waiter (Gary Webb) New Wave
B6 [03:12] 6.3.png Tubeway Army - Zero Bars (Mr. Smith) (Gary Webb) Electronica

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