Future Rock of the 1970s...

...reads kinda like an oxymoron, but the genre brought us two incredibly influential bands with sonically disparate but conceptually similar visions of the dystopian Future-Is-Now that loomed large in the noƶsphere during the late 20th Century: Chrome and Tubeway Army.

Tubeway Army's sound incorporates early Moog technology into what starts out as a fairly traditional snotty-punk-rock vibe complete with some riff-heavy guitar work (My Shadow in Vain, Listen to the Sirens), augmenting the sound with a machine-like precision + presaging the synth-laden new wave of the early 1980s (Down in the Park). Chrome, on the other hand, creates a much more paranoiac soundscape with trippy-ass guitar-driven psychedelia (SS Cygni) + the same snotty-punk vibe (TV as Eyes, Chromosome Damage) that Tubeway Army has mostly discarded by the end of their first album.

Chrome's overall effect is much more organic than that of Tubeway Army; while Tubeway Army often sounds like the danceclub music of a droog-infested future, Chrome sounds more like the raw rebellious punk-rock of a future society oppressed by technological masters.

Without sounding similar at all, each band achieves a powerful sound and evokes comparisons to the druggy futurescapes of both Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs, as well as Anthony Burgess' brilliant A Clockwork Orange.

Post-Tubeway Army releases by frontman Gary Numan continue the development of their sound, as does after-Chrome work by guitarist Helios Creed.

Recommended Tubeway Army releases:
Tubeway Army (1978)
Replicas (1979)

Recommended Chrome releases:
Alien Soundtracks (1978)
Half-Machine Lip Moves (1979)

As I was writing this post, a commercial for some materialistic bullshit came on the television... using Marvin Gaye's brilliant A Funky Space Reincarnation (from his final Motown release Here, My Dear), another excellent piece of future-rock of the late 1970s - this time focusing on future-sex...

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