UTLTRAVOX ULTRAVOX : 1977
I am pretty sure from what I can remember I bought this album while with my Belle in Leeds shopping around. I bought it on the strength of the cover….I know not the best way to judge the contents but those were the days when decisions were made on such flimsy choices.
It was taken back to her house & promptly dropped on the turntable. The first track Saturday Night had a sort of retro pub rock feel to it, along with that most cutting edge of music technology the harmonica. It was a ploy; the rest of the album fused sci fi lyrics with angular guitar phrases & bass lines so obviously influenced by reggae. It was all topped off with a healthy portion of synthesizer & electric violin.
Now let me clear up a little matter here that might be causing confusion, this line up of Ultravox was pre Midge Ure, pre Vienna. Vocalist for the band was John Foxx, the music was stamped very much with his personality. While I really like the first Ultravox album featuring Mr. Ure, I did begin to move away from them after John Foxx left.
The production was down to one Brian Eno & a very good job he does of it as well. The album & the band were absolutely pounded by critics at the time, mostly because it was not punk & was seen as been pretentious. Problem is that if you are wanting to push the boundries forward & try new things, it is too easy for narrow minded London based music critics to attach labels to idea’s that are beyond whatever personal favourite they are championing that week. Personally I applauded the attempt to try a new approach, it was so obvious that the band were looking beyond the days of punk, to the brave new world about to be unleashed by the advent of affordable synthesizers & less reliance on the electric guitar ( for a little while ).
It remains one of my favourite albums to this day, it has not aged as badly as one might think which is always the sign of good production values. I like every track on this thing, so I will not pick a stand out. Endless hours of listening pleasure have been provided by this album. It was certainly a soundtrack to my life during that period.