Most helpful positive review
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Give it a try. It will not dissapoint.
on 5 October 2006
From the neon plastic garage wails of "Satday nite" and "Wide boys", to the emotional dehumanisations of "I want to be a machine" and "My sex". Boy were Ultravox! a different creature under the guide of John Foxx in 76 compared to the slick sideburn pomposities of Midge in 1980.
Mind you, it was 'cos of "Vienna" (still a fantastic album, but that's another story) that I got into this album.
Expecting another epic synth rock soundtrip had been my mistake.
No, this album knocked me sideways with a gutsy bomblast of sheer rock noise experimentation. And I have to admit, at first I didn't know what the hell to make of it.
But you know, I went back to it time and time again. And each time I did, I found I was becoming more and more gripped.
The sardonic humour of "Satday night in the city of the dead" opens the way, pogoing its r'n'b backbeat to a pulp.
"Life at rainbows end" is carried along by Foxx's double vocal take, one a stylish croon, the other a distant whisper, great with headphones.
In "Slipaway" a lovely melody should get destroyed by the great slabs of distortion that tumble down upon it, but end up being the bits I look forward too. And in come the moogs, but warmer alongside the raw guitars and drums.
Another great melody comes in the "Dangerous rythmn" that could almost be Roxy attempting reggae.
The albums epics come in the forms of the lonely "I want to be a machine" and a real anthem "The wild the beautiful and the damned", both are brought to their peaks by fantastic fiddle flourishes making the early Ultravox! a kind of early futuristic new wave punk folk hybrid.
Keyboards dominate the ruined cityscape of the quasi-ballad "My sex", which is the song here most likely to please the old new romantics. But the grittier production brings to my mind images similar to say, a grundgier take of the sci-fi "Metropolis".
Some fun with more distortion and tape overload on the catchy "Wide boys" and the almost funky "Lonely hunter".
The story goes that the band got snuck into the Island studio when it was otherwise supposed to be closed and recorded this brilliant album amongst the mops and brooms of the cleaning ladies. With none other than Mr's Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite in the production seats that's one rock 'n' roll story I will be hellava disappointed with if I find out it's not true.
True or not they still produced my favourite Ultravox album of the lot.