The second (and essentially final) Tin Machine
installment finds the group polishing up their sound significantly making a well-produced collection of songs. Many songs -- notably "Amlapura" or "Goodbye Mr. Ed" -- come as less than raucous rock songs (as heard on the previous record) but more as sonic works of art. Strong opener "Baby Universal" is infectiously catchy. Bowie
is featured on saxophone on several numbers, particularly "You Belong in Rock & Roll" -- an interesting side to this record. Admittedly, this album takes some getting used to, but repeated listenings are very rewarding. Much of the difficulty with Tin Machine II
rests in some general confusion with what guitarist Reeves Gabrels
is doing with his guitar; he doesn't play it like a guitarist is supposed to play. He plays long textural notes that shift in pitch and intensity. He does not play on the beat, and he does not play licks that you will be humming when the song is over. Frequent listenings will prove this a beautiful enhancement to the music rather than a mosquito buzzing in the ear. Lead vocals by Hunt Sales
on "Stateside" and "Sorry"; his high, somewhat whiny voice adds yet another dimension to the sound of this group. Much of their work came to light before the radio-listening/music-buying public was really ready to hear it -- a later release of this music may have faired better in public opinion. This is a well-conceived and well-executed recording. The cover of the U.S. release of this record features the Kouros statues on the front with their genitalia apparently broken off. European releases show the statues anatomically intact.