I'm in the Meal Deal
Tin Drum is a fantastic album, but so is Gentleman Take Polaroids, stick with it, it gets better the more you play it. Also love Scritti, but then I also love their "dated" contemporaries: pre-pomp Simple Minds, Associates, Heaven 17 of Penthouse and Pavement, ABC, Visage. I even have a soft spot for the likes of Duran's The Chauffeur and Planet Earth and Spandau's To Cut a Long Story Short and Chant # 1.
Yeah this is fair - I probably shouldn't have said 'dated' because that's always taken as pejorative. I actually like most of the other groups that you mention (although with some of them I've only ever really skimmed the big hits) - I suppose all I would say is that a lot of them sound recognisably '80s UK' to me whereas with Japan what initially struck me was how modern they sounded, or if not modern then at least, not tied to their particular period.
Stuck on Gentlemen Take Polaroids again last night on your recommendation, and yeah, I can see this growing on me. The songs maybe feel a bit more laboured and less immediate than the ones on Tin Drum, which feel very effortless to me even though they're obv. very carefully put together. But yeah, still good. Enjoying Swing a lot (perhaps because it feels closest to some of the tunes on Tin Drum):