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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 19 May 2005
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...
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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2007
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.
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on 15 June 2014
In my opinion this is the best of the three albums produced by Ultravox when John Foxx (no relation) guided the band. Despite the image they were never really a punk band, their music was sometimes just as raw but often had more depth by including Billy Curry's violin and synths. There is a wide range of moods and styles but the album flows better than the first album. Of particular note are "Distant Smile" and "The Man Who Dies Every Day" but my favourite track from this band has to be the original closing track "Horoshima Mon Amour" which still brings a tear to my eye. A much faster and frenetic live version is also also included.

This extended version includes 6 bonus tracks including the single which brought them into the public eye "Young Savage", which is, in my view, the nearest they get to their punk contemporaries. When Foxx left and Midge Ure took the band to greater heights I lost interest in their stadium rock but was happy for their success even if I no longer cared much for the music.
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on 17 April 2006
'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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on 1 October 2010
This album is great. Contains the absolute best of Ultravox at their synth-punk prime. Not a Midge Ure in sight!
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on 27 January 2017
Advertised as Heavyweight Vinyl - this is not 180gsm. Not impressed by that.
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on 28 November 2016
Bought this for my wife's birthday, she was delighted with this gift
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on 3 July 2016
Great value for money and trustworthy seller.
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on 11 June 2015
Ultravox at their best before midge ure ruined them
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on 27 November 2016
Excellent item
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