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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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I'm a fan of Ultravox. I bought Systems Of Romance at the time (I was around 13) and then I bought Vienna and loved them both. I stuck with the band through to "Lament" but found my interest starting to wane a little after that.

The last few years have been pretty exciting for old guys like me as musical heroes from the past such as Ultravox, OMD and Visage have all made comebacks and released new material. The only real disappointment for me was the OMD album, still...

"Brilliant" isn't brilliant, but it is very, very good on the whole. I've had this album for well over two years now and have only just got round to reviewing it, but that's no bad thing. I think you need time to listen to an album to see whether it will become a favourite or a dust gatherer. While, it's not in my favourite albums of all time list of anything, it is an album I find I come back to time and time again.

What I like about this album is that although it's unmistakably Ultravox it doesn't sound anything like any of their other albums. The fantastic "Hearts and Knives" by Visage sounds like stuff from the "The Anvil" era and "English Electric" could be outtakes from "Architecture and Morality", but I don't get that with "Brilliant".

The up-tempo tracks are certainly my favourites on the album, I'm particularly fond of "Rise", "Flow", the title track and, of course "Live". Some of the ballads are a little pompous in places but hey, Ultravox always had a little bit of grandeur and pomposity in their DNA, didn't they?

I really like Midge's vocals on some of the tracks, I'm not sure what he'd done but they sound pretty spooky in places, it hardly sounds like him. Some vocalists lose their voice as they get older and tend the "talk" on their records rather than sing, I'm thinking of some of the vocals on "Hearts and Knives" here, but that certainly isn't a problem with Midge. Throughout the course of the album his voice ranges from china teacup delicate to full throttle stadium blast mode. Fantastic.

Brilliant? It's very good, but not the best of their career, that is still "Vienna" for me in the post-Foxx era. However, this comeback album certainly doesn't disappoint.

As for the item itself. It really is a lovely package, double album on clear vinyl, gatefold sleeve. The good thing too with modern vinyl is that coloured vinyl no longer means hiss, crackles and pops. I would recommend the white vinyl release of Vienna [VINYL] too.

Brilliant(ish)!
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on 29 May 2012
Incredible but true ULTRAVOX really are back and how good it is to hear them again!! Of course when I heard they were putting a new album together I had doubts they could scale the heights of their heyday but incredibly they really have delivered the goods after what seems a lifetime ago!
Live is the highlight and one of their best songs ever, closely followed by lie and the rousing satellite which begs you to test your speakers to the max! Of course not every track blows you away instantly but if you listen and let them grow you will find that the real Ultravox are back, lets hope they stick around!!
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on 28 May 2012
When Ultravox announced they would be touring again a few years ago, I was not going to miss out. In the back of my mind was "can they still do it, or will I be disappointed?" They were amazing, we saw them again last year, I was dancing with tears in my eyes. (sorry!)
They then announced a new album was on it's way with all new material. In the back of my mind again was that nagging doubt. I really don't know why, I have been listening to every sample and streaming, getting more and more excited.
I received my c.d. this morning, "Brilliant" is an understatement there are bits of the old albums in all the tracks, whilst still being refreshingly new. I would list my favourite tracks, but they will different tomorrow.
Sitting here listening to it, I feel I am fifteen years old again and bunking off school (might even pinch a tin of my dad's cider!)
If like me, you are fed up with most current manufactured, over produced, boy/girl band, 'talent' show winners, give "Brilliant" a spin, you can't go wrong.
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on 28 May 2012
Just downloaded the first studio album in 28 years from Ultravox and what sheer bliss to rediscover the lads albeit a lot older but the classic sound remains but with a more modern interface. Absolutely love the arrangement of all the tracks it puts the faith back into what is now a weary ordinary music scene the power and the glory of "Life,Flow,Brilliant,Change & Lie" will in time rank alongside their superb back catologue all I can ask is dont wait as long next time lads simply "Brilliant" so excited roll on the tour in September !!!
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on 31 May 2012
...but was it worth the wait?

Ultravox's music meant a lot to me when I was a teenager. Vienna was one of the first albums I bought and they were the first band I ever saw live (November '82 at Ipswich Gaumont). I saw them twice back in the 80s and again twice on the Return to Eden tours. They were the band that really got me into music and I've been messing around with synths and music production ever since. To say I've been looking forward to this is an understatement.

It could have been awful, but thankfully it's not. It's actually much better than I expected. The feel of the album is generally more upbeat than their early stuff and there's some compromise here between the classic ultravox sound and something more contemporary in places, but generaly speaking the trademark style and sounds are all present and correct. It's the songs which best capture the mood of their early albums that work for me though. Live and Satellite are excellent. One, Fall and Contact don't really do it for me to be honest but the rest are all pretty good. Lie, however, is the outstanding track here - powerfully atmospheric and intensely emotive. Nobody else does it like this.

On the downside, Midge's vocal style seems a bit odd in places and for me the production and sound qualty are a bit disappointing. But that's just niggles really and on the whole I think it was definitely worth the wait. I can't stop listening to it which I guess says it all.

As usual, the album's had a drubbing from the critics. As I'm writing this, however, it's no. 17 in the Amazon chart so what do they know?
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on 28 May 2012
It's hard to believe that time has come...for this one, but here it is - and what a masterpiece!! I find elements of the past wrapped in the sound of Ultravox today. And once again Ultravox change the music scene, as they did back then in the 80'ties. Ultravox still have something to offer to the music scene and once again set a new standard. How many bands have actually done this in their career?? Honestly - it's been decades since I listened to a album with this joy and pleasure. Thanks you guys, we love you! I can give this album my very best recommendations.
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on 28 May 2012
well what can i say about the new ultravox album?

is it

1) Shining with light / sparkling
2) vivid
3) splended / magnificent
4) outstanding intelligence or intellect
5) a diamond cut with many facets to increase its sparkle

well after listening to the album - its all of the above plus AMAZING

takes me back to the early eighties
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on 31 May 2012
I am blown away by the album. It is extraordinary that a band which hasn't recorded together in 30 odd years can come up with something so fresh and strong. The album is a superior all round package. All good albums usually have a striking cover and the black and grey of this album is no exception. I love the graphics and the new logo, really nicely done.
Anyway, on to the music. The album opens with power and passion on the great Live. The vocals are great. The chorus, verses and hooks are strong and there is arguably the strongest display of the trademark Vox wall of sound ensemble playing ever. In to Flow, and another great song is evident. Brilliant was the first song leaked from the album and has the wonderful bars of classical piano synonymous with the band at its heart. Soaring synths, new style earthy Midge vocals and layers of sound with pounding drums and bass make this a winning song.
Change is a very modern sounding track, but with a nod to Visage. Slow beat and a lovely break in the middle make this an atmospheric track. Midge's deeper, older vocals add depth and sadness to this piece.
Rise is a bit Human League like, or maybe Kraftwerk or even Heaven 17. There is also a bit of early Depeche Mode there. It is a joyous track with twists and turns to keep the listener interested. There is a hint of the experimental in Rise.
Remembering is a beautiful ballad with very good, but poignant lyrics. A very successful and sparse arrangement which works well against the busy and layered tracks which bookend it.
Hello has a great hook, a nice break and some super drumming. It has a very classical feeling about it. This would be comfortable on Vienna, had it been made this year!
One is a lovely little song, kept interesting by the chord change in the second half. I like the vocal effects at the start of this track where a muffled Midge suddenly hits loud and perfect clarity.
Fall is a good track, very different and dark and a deviation from the more conventional structures of some of the other tracks. Not entirely successful, but a vital addition to this varied album.
Lie is maybe my favourite. This really captures the essence of the band for me. Sad chord changes, pleading vocals and super catchy, a remarkable song which makes it harder still to believe that this a record made by men approaching pension age!
Satellite is catchy, has a great tempo and jumps out of the speakers.
Contact has a beautiful viola solo and cracked vocals. A lovely way to end the album.
A super album, better than one could have hoped for. This could end up being their best perhaps. The maturity and knowledge gained by the 4 members of the band over the last 30 years has not been wasted in the slightest and has made this album the best of old and new. Classic Ultravox with a modern feel, a very very successful return to the fold, and, like many older bands, it knocks just about any of the crud you hear today off the map.
Can't wait to see them in Notts this Sept.
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on 29 May 2012
I was dubious, yes..28 years is a long time! But it's wonderful all the elements that made Ultravox so different in the 80's are there. Amazing lyrics as usual by Midge. Warren back on the drums ..and Billie playing superbly with his twisting synth melodies. NOt to forget Chris and his pulsing bass.

Just buy this and suppot them they deserve this to be a success! Its the first actual CD album i've bought in 5 years. Itunes has ruled my life like everyone else. But this should be in your actual physical collection.

Literally there is something for everyone on here, haunting, Upbeat, New, Old.

No one has a voice like Midge..Utterly Unique.

10/10
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on 29 May 2012
Like a lot of people I was both excited and scared when new material was announced. After the first listen I could recognise bits of Ultravox of old but wasn't totally convinced. However there isn't a single Ultravox LP I ever owned where I loved it on first listening so that didn't faze me. Thankfully the same applies here. If you ever liked Ultravox buy this album and make sure you give it a few listens before you pass judgement. It's stunning and will take you right back in time, whilst also making you look forward.That's some trick, but then it's some band.
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