Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ultravox! - Ultravox!

After the quiet introspection of 'Systems of romance' Ultravox's debut arrives to blast away any notions you courted of them being fey dreamers or detached onlookers of a society descending into its own scumminess. Here they seem to be in the thick of the horror as 'Satday night in the city of the dead attests' all raging guitars and not-at-all-sedate singing from John Foxx as he spitefully lists all the manner of mundane violence taking place on our nation's streets (ring any bells?). Here the roots of punk and glam-rock are more evident over the later love of swishy noises from synthesisers, although they creep in here and there alongside gorgeous stabs of violin. Most arresting is 'I want to be a machine', a lengthy ballad to the desire to cast off messy complicated emotions for the relative security that detachment brings. It starts off quietly enough, only an acoustic guitar to accompany Foxx's plaintive vocals, bringing in subtle violin and slowly building to an exhilarating, if unsettling, climax.

Concerned with themes of alienation, disgust and the desire to either disappear or adapt in the face of confusion, these are all perhaps resonant today at least for those who feel out of place in society, unable to see how it reflects their desires or needs.

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