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2.5 out of 5 stars
U-Vox
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
After Live Aid and Midge Ure's solo success with If I Was, you sense that there wasn't much of a combined will in the construction of this album. Down from a quartet to a trio following the departure of Warren Cann, the last Ultravox album proper is an eneven mix of styles and quality. At its best it recalls former glories. All in One Day is a fine string assisted pean to Live Aid in the mould of Visions in Blue, and Dream On is as near as this album gets to the old, moody, synth driven Ultravox of the Rage in Eden period. There's the poetic and thought provoking All Fall Down, which, along with Same Old Story was one of two top 40 singles from the album. It's a collaboration with the Chieftans which is as far from trad Ultravox as it's possible to get but is the album's one real piece of inspiration. U-Vox is dragged down, though, by too many irrelevancies; too many tracks that the band would have been unlikely to use as B-sides in earlier days. Time to Kill and Moon Madness have their moments but are, ultimately, naff. The Prize is a touch dull and, even worse, the album cover is the most garish, migraine inducing piece of artwork you have ever seen. Midge Ure and Chris Cross left the band after this. Billy Currie formed a new version later, but this album marked the official end of a Ultravox.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2009
Would agree with Daniel Eaves in pretty much everything in his review. When this came out I was a massive Ultravox fan - I had loved the Lament album and Love's Great Adventure single(and for both still do). Loved the tracks, loved the artwork, loved the videos. Same Old Story came out on 12" and I bought it - thought it was OK in a poppy way - very unlike Ultravox really with female backing singer vocals very prominent in the mix for example. Thought the platic 12" cover was unusual too. Then the album - more plastic cover (the Ltd edition I think) and strange day-go colours. Thought the pinky red colour was vile and very un-Ultravox. The tracks - not good really - ranging from OK - Same Old Story, Dream On and Sweet Surrender to absolutely awful in Moon Madness and All Fall Down. I don't know what happened here in the recording process but it was a real shame that 4 superb studio albums were followed by this. It might as well be a different band almost. That said I'll probably get this at some point for completeness and the OK tracks are ....well OK. But compared to masterworks like Rage in Eden and Lament - well there is no comparison.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2009
After a cracking performance at Live Aid, Ultravox returned to the studio in '86 and BANG! it all went horribly wrong.
Warren Cann was crazily fired and the result was U-Vox which even Midge Ure and Billy Currie have since dismissed as a weak effort!
Not a lot can be said about this album, it really isn't the best. Some good tracks but no chemistry on it, little focus, the songs dont flow aat all plus also so damn awful tracks! Personal favourites for me are Sweet Surrender and Dream On (the only one on here that sounds like an Ultravox song), the singles Same Old Story, All Fall Down and All in One Day are in my opinion "not bad" but if listened to on the new "best of" show their weakness after all the 80-84 classics, other then that it's the album to gather dust from the Ultravox catalogue. Awful artwork too.
Shame but worth buying to complete the collection AND I admit I'm looking forward to the live recordings from Glasgow very much.
I hope they're splitting the royalties from this remaster 4 ways with Warren as an apology ;-)
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on 22 January 2014
Read a number of reviews for this album on here and I think this album needs to be put into context with the time it was made. A lot of the best synth music was just a memory for many of those early 80's pioneers. In 1986,the same year as U-Vox was released,Numan had 'Strange Charm'(also with female backing vocals and brass)which continued his slide from I Assassin onwards, The Human League brought out 'Crash' largely written by Jam and Lewis and sounding like white soul, OMD had gone extremely soft with The Pacific Age, and the year before Simple minds who had made the wonderful 'Empires and Dance' and 'Sons and Fascination' were releasing the bloated rock stadium filling 'Once upon a time' and even John Foxx had thawed out too with 'In Mysterious Ways'
Everywhere bands which were writing such great material just one or two years previous were either going commercial and selling out or finding it hard to live up to their previous works. (Many of acts would come back with renewed vigour years later after a roots check and rediscovering what they did best in the first place
eg Numan,Foxx,OMD)
So whilst U-Vox isn't Vienna or Rage in Eden,I dont think it's as bad as some make out, given what was coming out elsewhere. It was an album of its time just like Vienna and Rage in Eden were
I admit I find it hard to stomach 'The Prize' but 'Dream On', 'Time to Kill' and 'All in one Day' hark back to better times for the band. I don't dislike this album. Not even close to Vienna and RIE but not the turkey some others have made it out to be in my opinion of course.
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Ultravox's last album of the eighties was a big disappointment, and the remastered two-disc selection here reviewed does not alter that opinion.

More than half the tracks are either duff or mere album fodder. When Midge Ure sings in the opening track "The sound I hear is not the sound I want to hear from you", I wonder if he ever thought his fans felt the same, especially since the track itself is titled `Same Old Story'.

`The Prize' is just as bad; `Dream On' goes nowhere (which is a shame, as it had potential); `Follow Your Heart' has a quasi-American-AOR feel (were they planning to break into the US market?); `Moon Madness' is barely bearable; whilst `All In One Day' is completely unbearable. (The instrumental version on disc two is better, yet still `not' Ultravox - and the live version also on the second disc just accentuates how clumsy is the song anyway.)

Even the good tracks are open to criticism. `All Fall Down', whilst continuing the anti-war tradition that can be found in at least one track on each of their previous albums, is poorly arranged - there is no contrast to the repetitive main theme - and its production is cloudy. (The good thing about the extended mix on disc two allows for The Chieftains at the end to almost play solo.)

All in all, `U-Vox' comes over as a lazy album. Warren Cann's absence must have been quite a blow too, as he and the rest of the group did not see eye-to-eye over the commitment to full electronic percussion. This, together with the inclusion of brass and female backing vocals also hints at the rest of the group trying for the more traditional US market. In short, this was a wrong turn for the group, who lost their distinctiveness and became just another band - the `Same Old Story'!

The second disc contains seventy-four minutes of extras, featuring B-sides, extended mixes, as well as live and instrumental versions of the album's songs. The only good B-side is `Dreams?', like a lamenting echo of what used to be.
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on 16 October 2009
From Sleepwalk to Love's Great Adventure, Ultravox were on a great adventure. Then sadly when Warren Cann departed from the band, Ultravox were diminshed. The great adventure had come to an end.

On this pink thing, Ultravox certainly lost their way. This by no means an "Ultravox" album & should never be considered as such. But amongst the very poor tracks such as Sweet Surrender & especially The Prize which is quite frankly diabolical, there are some glimmers of hope. All In One Days is a reasonably good track and All Fall Down in my opinion rates as the best on this poor album.

The collaboration with the Chieftans should not be sniffed at. They are a very talented group and probably helped rescue this album from Room 101.

Some people have stated that had Ultravox not parted at all, they would have gone on to become one of the most iconic bands in music history. Their part in the history of pop music is undoubted. But had they continued, who would they be compared to today? I have heard a suggestion that they would be compared to Radiohead. I personally can hear tones of Ultravox in the music by Muse. Maybe one day Ultravox will start to write again and the question will be answered. Dare they risk it?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2009
There's nothing better than when your favourite band releases an amazing album with a great sleeve, just at the right moment. This unfortunately was the complete opposite of what happened when Ultravox released U-Vox. There's nothing worse than trying to convince yourself that an album you've waited for isn't as bad as you first thought. But nothing could save the disaster that was U-Vox. Just looking at the bright pink sleeve was enough to know that something wasn't right. Why had they stopped using Peter Saville and created a cover that looked like something from a Habitat catalogue? By 1986, the electronic bands of the early 80's either moved up the next level (Depeche Mode, New Order) or headed downhill (Ultravox, OMD, Human League). A shame that Ultravox seemed to be now influenced more by the current successes of Dire Straites and Phil Collins. A sad end. 23 years on and I still remember the disappointment. Shame.
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on 21 February 2012
When the first single came out from this album I bought the 12" of "Same old story" and played it on my Dad's music centre.Initially I thought there was a problem with the music centre as Midge's vocal was almost lost in the mix!I was really disappointed at the time as I was (and still am)a huge Ultravox fan and tried at the time to like this single.When the album came out it only got a couple of plays as I thought at the time "this aint Ultravox that I know?" Most of the tracks were instantly forgettable and the production very average.Listening to it now I would say that for me the only 3 memorable(slightly)tracks that I enjoy are "All fall down","All in one day" and err...oh sorry no that's it really!No that's not fair I do actually play "Same old story" but given the previously wonderful "Lament" etc this is really a very weak effort indeed from the band; not sure that even Warren's input would have changed much had they not sacked him!
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on 9 August 2012
The only good thing about this album was the cover and that was terrible.

Well, actually Time To Kill and Dream On are ok and I quite like uileann pipes so All Fall Down is listenable but as for the rest... oh dear, brass? female backing singers? where's the electronica?

It's hard to say if the songs are any good or not, they might have benefitted from better arrangements but this ain't Ultravox. I've long since thrown away my vinyl copy, with its interesting sleeve, but didn't the centre label say "U-Vox" and not "Ultravox"? I hope it did.

The band had really lost their way. I seem to recall Billy Currie (who wrote most of it) saying there were barely on speaking terms at the time so perhaps not surprising that this half-hearted effort was the end result.

Still awful. This brings back memories of the enormous disappointment of 1986.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2005
An all-time low and justly decried by hardcore fans everywhere.
Both Ure and Currie distanced themselves from it, Currie describing it diplomatically as 'unfocused'.
The things that made Ultravox exceptional to that point - the chances taken with technology, a genuine creativity and a feeling of going against the grain slightly - were jettisoned here as the ideas ran out along with the goodwill.
Drummer and founder member Warren Cann was booted out of the band, his place being taken in the studio by Big Country's Mark Bryzicki (often ridiculed in Smash Hits at the time as 'Mark Unpronounceablename'). He also played on The Cult's acclaimed hit 'She Sells Sanctuary'. Lead single, 'Same Old Story' was truly poor and a herald of what was to come. Brass sections? Naff backing vocals? The Chieftains? Please!!
No matter how cheaply you are able to buy this for, it can't be any cheaper and more naff than the stuff on it! The real Ultravox finished with Lament. Buy that instead. Currie is still a genius, by the way...
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