Thursday, September 02, 2010


I just know that I'm going to get caned for this but... I actually liked the incarnation of Ultravox with Midge Ure in the lineup more than John Foxx. Okay? 

When Foxx left the band in 1979 (after three albums), Ure, who had played with Thin Lizzy and ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock's band Rich Kids, replaced Foxx as frontman and brought Ultravox through their most successful era with 5 top ten albums in the UK and various international single hits. 

I loved the Vienna, Rage in Eden, Quartet and Lament LPs immensely and count them as some of my favorites from the 80s. To my ears, Ultravox were progressive rockers masquerading as post-punks but instead of power chords, the quartet employed synths and Currie's violin to distinguish themselves.

In fact, after the release of Rage in Eden, the British critics (especially NME) began to decry Ultravox as the "new Genesis", which was fine by me, as I was also a Genesis fan! Despite the obvious debts to the pomp rock of the 70s, Ultravox's appropriation of the post-punk synth pop sound kept the music fresh and intriguing. 

To this day, I go back to those astonishing singles viz. Sleepwalk, Passing Strangers, Vienna, The Voice, Reap the Wild Wind, Dancing With Tears In My Eyes. One Small Day and Lament and no assessment of the best music of the 80s will be complete without including Ultravox.

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