11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The second in the Foxx-trilogy...,
This review is from: Ha! Ha! Ha! (Audio CD)
'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...