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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riding Intercity trains dressed in European Grey,
The previous reviewer stated his favourite albums as Kraftwerk's TEE, Reproduction and Thomas Leer/Robert Rental's The Bridge. What a star! I thought I was alone. Ha Ha Ha is not as polished as Systems of Romance but it has its moments. You will find parts of it extremely harsh on the ears and maybe the production could have been a little smoother. However there are some fantastic futurist minutes here, listen to the intro to Artificial Life, it sums up the mood in three repeated notes, a little like Interferon with guitars. Lyrically, Dennis Leigh aka John Foxx is a genius. Futurism came no better, and good as Replicas was, Foxx added romance to the decay, alienation and fear that was the subject of much brilliant music from 1977-1980. This period in music could never be repeated and Ha Ha Ha! is very much part of it. Buy it!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The great lost punk album,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ha Ha Ha (Audio CD)
"Ha Ha Ha" was unheralded upon its release in 1977; a quarter of a century later, it sounds like the great lost punk album - noisy, feedback-drenched, pissed off, John Foxx's every line a snarl. Song structures are pretty rudimentary - start slow and portentious, get loud and fast, freak out at the end - but hey, if the formula works, don't mess with it. They do provide some chill finally, in the form of closer "Hiroshima Mon Amour," a zombied-out beatbox ballad. A beautiful, chaotic, messy album, and light-years away from the mannered, mannequin eleganza of later Ultravox.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece released in a topnotch edition,
I was 16 in 77 , never heard of Ultravox! then but I was about to discover them! (donot forget the !) with "Systems of Romance" the following year. Hooked by the originality and the commercial aspect of "Quiet men", I looked then for the predecessors "HA!HA!HA!" and the self named album.
Listening to "HA!(3x)"was at this time a strange experience: hearing a distorted violin,screaaaming guitars from hell,strange keyboard noises all this on punky rythmns.Jumping from hypnotic "we are the robots" beats, to atmospheric peaceful waves, immediately after perverted by the stongest guitaristic distortion ever heard then ,untill the top of the album the orgasmic "Hiroshima Mon amour",all that was a thrilling experience.This CD is a not only one of the foundation stones of the new wave, but of the whole alternative music since 30 years. If you want originality, there you have to go...and above this Island managed to include some undiscovered jewels like young savage studio and live, quirks,another version of Hiroshima Mon Amour,everything with a remastered crystal sound ...a mesmerizing experience. What do you wait for: BUY!!!!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fault line between the seventies and eighties.,
This is an album of two extreme styles: hard-driving guitar music that's clearly influenced by the punk rock of 1977, its year of release, and the icy, electronic soundscapes a few years ahead of their time. I remember the catchy, primal rhythm of 'Rockwrok' from the time of its release, together with John Foxx's Lydonesque sneer. The next two tracks follow suit and there's even a '1-2-3-4' opening to 'Fear In The Western World', yet 'The Frozen Ones' deceptively begins with some eerie keyboard. More bizarre is 'Distant Smile', which starts with two and a half minutes of Eno-like ambient piano before the band explode into life yet again.
They then seem to shake off the punk influence. 'The Man Who Dies Every Day' is an especially memorable song couched in an impassioned performance. 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' though is the most visionary track, building upon its Kraftwerk-like percussion. The bonus 'Young Savage' is a welcome addition, another reminder of the current musical fashion. Though 'Ha!Ha!Ha!' tends to pander to the new wave, Ultravox! have the appetite for it while sticking to their usual lyrical content on western civilisation. Not one of the better-known albums of 1977, but well-worthy of investigation.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LONG LAST!!!,
I'm not one to usually inflict my views on others but I couldn't help it this time. It's not every day that my favourite album gets dusted down and reissued. This along with a few choice others ( Human League's "Reproduction" , Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express" and Thomas Leer/Robert Rental's "The Bridge" to name just a few) was the blueprint for the electronic wave of artists that bridged Punk and what would now be referred to as Electronica.This is perfect hybrid stuff- wailing electronic violin /state of the art 1977 synthesisers/ jagged punk guitars and topped off with electronic music's most ethereal front man , John Foxx The ingredients shared here would, some 18 months later,be popularised by Gary Numan adding his own well crafted twist to proceedings.Buy it and be educated and while you're at it buy "Systems of Romance" and "Ultravox!"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A teenage embarassment and a great wonder,
A young innocent, I got Rage In Eden, which I quite liked, so my sister bought Vienna, which I really liked. So I bought Ultravox!, which was ok, but not what I expected, so I bought Systems of Romance, which seemed good, so I bought this...
Such a harsh, sneering vitriolic record had never graced my small, New Romantic record collection. It was awful. They swore. They mentioned doing bad things in your bedroom. Headphones on, sitting next to the stereo, I blushed as I looked at my family, quietly watching telly in front of me. The shame. They could never hear what I was hearing.
And then something happened. I realised that all the other Ultravox records were rubbish compared to this. Read any of the other reviews here to find out the details. This is a genuinely great album, not just a teenage 'hip' thing, but full of poetry, drive, beauty and angst. I have never looked back.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artwork,
If this album had been released in 2011, Ultravox would be hailed as genius and they would be reveried as 'the next big thing.' Unbelievably, this album was all but ignored when it first came out; proof that Ultravox were simply light years ahead of their time. John Foxx must be one of the most underated lyricists of all time. From the frantic, adrenalin fuelled, hook laden power of album opener ROckWrok to the mystical, poetic beauty of Hiroshima Mon Amour, this album is a powerhouse of diversity, innovation and original songwriting; this is genuinely exciting music. The Man Who Dies Everday is full of eerie soundscapes and slow building atmospherics. The Artificial Life features some brilliant sub-bass sonics right at its conclusion and Distant Smile starts as a surreal, ambient ballad which suddenly bursts into full on rock. Every track is simply brimming with ideas and energy. The album comes with a wonderful black glossy sleeve; all the original artwork restored and a brilliant essay regarding the story behind the album complete with full lyrics. I cannot recommend this album too highly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ultravox - Ha-Ha-Ha,
This album is great. Contains the absolute best of Ultravox at their synth-punk prime. Not a Midge Ure in sight!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh no more...,
This review is from: Ha Ha Ha (Audio CD)
In the words of Foxx himself, punk's velocity was "beginning to sag" (it's from Artificial Life) in 1977. Recorded again in London in the late silver jubilee summer, the band could see the writing was on the wall and were already looking towards the next step forward.
It was the summer that Moroder's awesome I Feel Love went to number one - still one of Foxx's favourite records - and Ultravox! were already picking up on the commercial European electronic music of Can and Kraftwerk, the latter wowing a good deal of the world with their stunning Trans-Europe Express album the same year.
The young Steve Lilleywhite (former husband of the late Kirsty McColl fact fans!) was in the producer's chair for this album and he did a great job. From the explosive ebullience of Rockwrok to the manic energy of The Frozen Ones and the sleaze of Lonely Hunter, the creativity and intensity doesn't let up.
Closing the album is the exquisite Hiroshima Mon Amour. The only Ultravox track ever to feature a saxophone - courtesy of CC, a friend from another band, Gloria Mundi, two members of which, Eddie & Sunshine, later supported Ultravox live - the song has an atmosphere you can almost touch. The band kept it in the live set for ages after Foxx left (spring 1979) and they frequently did eight-minute almost industrial versions of it.
I like to believe the song is a pointer to what they knew was coming next, the new electronic music. It's strange to think that they recorded three albums in just three years but bands did just that then.
After the debut album, this was the next step but the masterpiece was to come shortly...
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second in the Foxx-trilogy...,
'Ha Ha Ha' is now in an expanded/remastered form and like its relatives either side ('Ultravox!', 'Systems of Romance')forms a trilogy Ultravox(!) released before Midge Ure became singer and they had hits like 'Reap the Wild Wind', 'Vienna', 'Dancing with Tears in My Eyes' & 'Love's Great Adventure.' This was when John Foxx was the lead vocalist - like his subsequent solo career, these albums feel a mite overlooked and in definite need of reappraisal/appreciation by a later generation.
The album opens with a definite highlight 'Rock Wrok', which isn't that far away from certain records by Devo and Pere Ubu and for some reason reminds me a bit of 'Blur'-era Blur. 'Rock Wrok' advances on the new wave punk feel of prior single 'Young Savage', which is a very welcome inclusion in the bonus track region. 'Distant Smile' feels like an advance on the Neu!/Satie-soundscapes of the earlier track 'My Sex' as a piano-coda opens the song before a drone overwhelms, in turn giving way to a riff and Foxx's coo-ing vocals - Foxx sounds like early David Sylvian before a grinding angular punk song appears.A very odd structure and belongs on a compilation alongside Devo's 'Gut Feeling'...
'The Man Who Dies Everyday' is another joy, robotic angular alt-pop that reminds me very much of Franz Ferdinand; 'While I'm Still Alive' is in similar climes. The most interesting track is the closing 'Hiroshima Mon Amour', which takes its title from the Alain Resnais French New Wave classic and shows that Foxx was dominating the band. The rock-elements are beginning to be dispensed with - a key electronic track that sounds like the missing link between Suicide and early Depeche Mode, with some sax which reminds you of Berlin-Bowie (just as Magazine's 'Feed the Enemy' did). 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' is partly to blame for the London Blitz scene that followed in its wake - don't hold that against it though, as it's one of the key electronic moments of the late 70s alongside The Normal's 'Warm Leatherette', The Human League's 'Being Boiled', Bowie's 'Warszawa', Cabaret Voltaire's 'Nag Nag Nag' and Suicide's 'Dream Baby Dream.' As with its fellow reissues, 'Ha Ha Ha' is most definitely worthy of purchase - nice to see such joys reissued and reissued in remastered/expanded form...
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