Tin Machine II

Tin Machine

Victory Records Music, 1991


REVIEW BY: Roland Fratzl


I am truly flabbergasted. Against all odds, the second Tin Machine album (or, essentially David Bowie in disguise), creatively titled Tin Machine II, is an improvement over the solid, if unspectacular, debut. All of the subtle, quirky arrangements are left intact, but this time, they are bolstered by a significantly improved vocal performance from Bowie himself.

For the first time since my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Let’s Dance, his melodies don't make me collapse and snore, and he doesn't even do his frequent aimless singing thing. He doesn't over-sing either, but rather finds a rare, enjoyable balance for a change. Throughout the entire album, he stays within a natural range and has never sounded better. If only he always sang this way, many of his albums would have been so much better.

I suspect that if Tin Machine II had been released as a David Bowie solo album instead, it would have been hailed as one of the best things he'd ever done – instead, it cruelly sank without a trace, forever relegated to the distinctly unceremonious status of being a used-bin all-star.

There is not a single bad song to be found, and Bowie even sounds completely comfortable immersed in this alt-art rock world, created once again with the notable talents of guitarist Reeves Gabrels, bassist Tony Sales, and drummer Hunt Sales.

It's a shame, really, that the whole Tin Machine phenomenon never caught on – the prevailing theory being that the project ultimately failed due to being in the right place at the wrong time. Had the band Tin Machine debuted a couple of years later, they would have potentially reaped the rewards of the grunge and alternative rock revolution with great commercial success.

So, when Tin Machine II was released in 1991 just prior to the alt-rock explosion and went completely unnoticed, sinking without a trace on the charts, Bowie decided he'd had enough of the "novelty" of being in a band and resumed his solo career that nobody in their right mind could have been longing for.

And thus an odd little chapter in the history of David Bowie closes, seeing how I highly doubt we'll ever see anything involving Tin Machine again. If you’re a fan, though, do yourself a favor and pick up this obscure gem.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Roland Fratzl and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Victory Records Music, and is used for informational purposes only.