Replicas (album)

Replicas (album)
Studio album by Tubeway Army
Released April 1979
Recorded Gooseberry Studios, London, January 1979
Genre New Wave, Electronic, Post-punk
Length 42:02
Label Beggars Banquet (UK)
Atco Records (USA)
Producer Gary Numan
Tubeway Army chronology
Tubeway Army
The Pleasure Principle
Music sample
"Tubeway Army - Are Friends Electric"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau (B+)[2]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

Replicas is an album by Tubeway Army,[3] released in 1979. It was the second and final Tubeway Army LP, following a self-titled debut the previous year. It was also the first album of what Numan later termed the "machine" phase of his career[1], preceding The Pleasure Principle and Telekon, a collection linked by common themes of a dystopian science fiction future and transmutation of man/machine, coupled with an androgynous image and ground-breaking synthetic rock sound. Fuelled by a surprise number 1 hit single, "Are 'Friends' Electric?", Replicas also claimed the top spot in the UK charts.



Something of a concept album, Replicas was based on a book Numan hoped to complete someday[2], set in a not-too-distant future metropolis where Machmen (androids with cloned human skin) and other machines keep the general public cowed on orders from the Grey Men (shadowy officials). Whilst the album’s setting and lyrics were directly inspired by the science fiction of Philip K. Dick, particularly his seminal work Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the title, surprisingly, was not. Though similar to 'Replicants', the term used for androids in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, based on Dick’s book, Scott’s film came out three years after Tubeway Army’s album and Dick never used the word 'Replicant' in his original 1968 novel.

Recording and music

Musically Numan’s chief influence was the commercially-unsuccessful John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. Tracks like "Speed of Life" and "Breaking Glass" from David Bowie’s Low have also been cited, as have Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine, in particular the long and wistful "Neon Lights".[citation needed]

The recording was a development of the sound of its predecessor, the Tubeway Army debut. Whilst tracks like "You Are in My Vision" and "It Must Have Been Years" recalled the earlier album’s guitar-orientated rock, the rest were built solidly around an analog synthesizer, the Minimoog. Along with "Are 'Friends' Electric?", this included "Me! I Disconnect from You", the atmospheric "Down in the Park" (released as a single prior to the album and acquiring cult status if not, at the time, commercial success), the multi-layered title track and the closing instrumentals "When the Machines Rock" and "I Nearly Married a Human", the latter featuring Numan's first use of a primitive drum machine; it made an appearance the following year in Carl Sagan's TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.


Promoting the 2008 album tour

Replicas' fat synthesizer sound and occasionally nihilistic lyrics had a major impact on the industrial acts that came to prominence in the mid-nineties such as Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, each of whom have covered his songs on record. Both Manson and Foo Fighters released versions of "Down in the Park" whilst "Are 'Friends' Electric?" has been covered by a number of artists and was most recently the backing for Sugababes' "Freak Like Me". Numan has always played tracks from this album on stage with "Me! I Disconnect from You", "Are 'Friends' Electric?" and "Down in the Park" being mainstays, whilst "Praying to the Aliens" and "Replicas" have also lately become part of his live repertoire.

Of the bonus tracks released on CD, "Do You Need the Service?" and "We Are So Fragile" were B-sides on the vinyl singles "Down In The Park" and "Are 'Friends' Electric?", respectively; "I Nearly Married a Human (2)" was an additional B-side on the "Down in the Park" 12-inch; and "The Crazies", "Only a Downstat" and "We Have a Technical" were outtakes from the Replicas sessions first released on vinyl in 1985.

Track listing

All tracks written by Gary Numan.

1979 Beggars Banquet LP and MC (BEGA/C 7) & 1995 Beggars Banquet CD reissue (MUSCD509)

The lightbulb on the front sleeve artwork was removed for the 1995 reissue to allow for a larger print of the album title.

  1. "Me! I Disconnect from You" – 3:23
  2. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" – 5:25
  3. "The Machman" – 3:08
  4. "Praying to the Aliens" – 4:00
  5. "Down in the Park" – 4:24
  6. "You Are in My Vision" – 3:15
  7. "Replicas" – 5:01
  8. "It Must Have Been Years" – 4:02
  9. "When the Machines Rock" – 3:15
  10. "I Nearly Married a Human" – 6:31

1999 Beggars Banquet CD reissue (BBL 7 CD)

  1. "Do You Need The Service?" - 3:40
  2. "The Crazies" - 2:54
  3. "Only A Downstat" - 3:36
  4. "We Have A Technical" - 8:04
  5. "We Are So Fragile" - 2:56
  6. "I Nearly Married a Human 2" - 6:38

2008 Beggars Banquet 'Redux' CD reissue (BBQCD 2057)

To coincide with Numan's 15-date Replicas Classic Album Tour in 2008, Beggars Banquet issued an expanded 2 & 3 CD version of Replicas entitled Replicas Redux.

Disc One

  1. "We Are So Fragile" - 2:55
  2. "Do You Need the Service?" - 3:39
  3. "I Nearly Married A Human" (2) - 6:38

Disc Two

This disc contains a complete earlier version of the Replicas album, recorded in late 1978 and January 1979

  1. "Me! I Disconnect From You" - 3:24
  2. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" - 5:25
  3. "The Machman" - 3:08
  4. "Praying to the Aliens" - 4:08
  5. "Down in the Park" - 4:24
  6. "Do You Need the Service?" - 3:42
  7. "Only a Downstat" - 3:35
  8. "We Have a Technical" - 8:00
  9. "You Are In My Vision" - 3:22
  10. "Replicas" - 5:02
  11. "It Must Have Been Years" - 4:04
  12. "When the Machines Rock" - 3:15
  13. "The Crazies" - 2:54
  14. "I Nearly Married A Human (3)" - 6:24
  • The early version of "When the Machines Rock" features vocals by Numan. The standard album version is an instrumental track.

Disc Three - Replicas - Mixes + Versions (GNCD 2008)
This disc of bonus tracks was only available for a limited time when Replicas Redux was purchased via Numan's official website

  1. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Renegade Soundwave Mix) - 5:15
  2. "Replicas" (Early Version 2) - 5:05
  3. "Down in the Park"(Early Version 2) - 4:23
  4. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Early Version 2) - 5:28
  5. "Replicas" (Early Version 3) - 5:00
  6. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Renegade Soundwave Instrumental) - 5:14

Chart positions

Chart Year Peak
UK Albums Chart[4] 1979 1



  1. ^ Gary Numan (1981). Living Ornaments '79/'80: LP liner notes
  2. ^ Tim Lott (1979). "Confessions of an honest poseur". Record Mirror (9 June 1979): p. 26. 


  • Paul Goodwin (2004). Electric Pioneer: An Armchair Guide to Gary Numan
Preceded by
Discovery by Electric Light Orchestra
UK Albums Chart number one album
21–26 July 1979
Succeeded by
The Best Disco Album in the World
by Various artists

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