Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno

Mojo AUGUST 2016 - by Kieron Tyler

ULTRAVOX!: THE ISLAND YEARS

Anomie and frostiness with the John Foxx-era Europhiles.

This clamshell box of the entire output of the original, John Foxx-fronted, pre-Vienna Ultravox! could be titled 'the wilful years'.

Although active from 1976 to early 1979, they were not punk and continental Europe was increasingly an inspiration. Their three albums are collected: the eponymous first (1977), co-produced by the band, Steve Lillywhite and Eno, is Roxy Music-glam-tinged art-rock; the punk-edged second, Ha! Ha! Ha! (1977, made with Lillywhite) was claustrophobic while the tremendous third, the majestic Systems Of Romance (1978) was produced in Germany by Conny Plank. Overall, Ballardian alienation counterpoints with expositions of the human as machine (before Kraftwerk's The Man Machine) while a chilly beauty runs throughout. A fourth disc - confusingly sequenced non-chronologically and lacking full source annotation - collects non-album and BBC recordings. The influence on Gary Numan is accepted, but this Ultravox! was more questing rock band than synth outfit.


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