After the hit 'n miss debut album and the punky, raucous second album, Ultravox finally defined their sound with Systems of Romance - and delivered the masterpiece of which we knew they were capable .
Systems will be remembered by most as the last Foxx album but it's also first time the band worked with German producer Conny Plank and in him Ultravox appear to have found a kindred spirit, someone who could help them create their remarkable blend of electronic, experimental and traditional instrumentation. It's surely no coincidence that Plank oversaw all of the band's best work (and U-Vox, but we'll quickly skip over that).
Despite the fact that this album was years ahead of its time, its sound was, and is still, very commercial, packed with hooks and riffs and all sorts of wierd and wonderful sounds. Any one track has more great ideas than any number of songs by their rivals (Kraftwerk aren't in the same league) and, in hindsight, it seems odd that this album achieved so little commercial success.
Systems of Romance is a truly masterful piece of work, one that would be bettered only by its immediate successor, and is light years away from the plinky-plonk sound that was typical of 70s/80s electronica. The fact that it was, and is, routinely ignored by the music press and those "in the know" whilst vastly inferior work is venerated, should give you some idea of just how good it is. Genius.