Ultravox – Vienna

Ultravox – Vienna

Ultravox – Vienna is the fourth studio album by British new wave band Ultravox, first released on 11 July 1980. The album peaked at #3 in the UK charts and was the first Ultravox release to enter the UK top ten. It was certified Platinum in the United Kingdom in July 1981 for 300,000 copies sold. The album reached #22 in Germany, and #164 in the United States.

Ultravox are a British new wave band. They are one of the primary exponents of the British electronic pop music movement of the late 1970s/early 1980s.

 AMG review: With the departure of vocalist John Foxx and guitarist Robin Simon behind them, Ultravox – Vienna kicked off Ultravox’s second phase with former Rich Kids vocalist Midge Ure at the helm. Trading Foxx’s glam rock stance for Ure’s aristocratic delivery, The album recasts the band as a melodramatic synth pop chamber ensemble with most of the group doubling on traditional string quartet instruments and the synthesizers often serving to emulate an orchestra. It was a bold move that took awhile to pay off (the first two singles, “Sleepwalk” and “Passing Strangers,” went unnoticed), but when the monolithic title track was released, the Ure lineup became the band’s most identifiable one almost overnight. The simple and instantly recognizable drumbeat of “Vienna” proved infectious, taking the single to the top of the charts in the U.K. and making an impression in a new wave-apprehensive America. Drummer Warren Cann’s monotone narration on “Mr X” and the frantic ride that is “Western Promise” give the album just enough diversity and showcase the rest of the group on an Ure-heavy album. There are plenty of pretentious and pompous moments at which Foxx-era purists cringe, but taken as a snooty rebellion against the guitar-heavy climate of the late ’70s, they’re ignorable. Returning producer Conny Plank’s style adapted well to the new group, pitting the stark and the lush against one another. Add Anton Corbijn’s photography and Peter Saville’s smart cover design and all the ingredients for an early-’80s classic are there. A few albums later, it would all seem like a fluke, but here , all the pieces come together. –by David Jeffries


Ultravox – Vienna Tracklist

  1. Astradyne
  2. New Europeans
  3. Private Lives
  4. Passing Strangers
  5. Sleepwalk
  6. Mr X
  7. Western Promise
  8. Vienna
  9. All Stood Still 

Ultravox - Vienna

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