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The Island Years

Ultravox

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Album Review

Ultravox! fans fall neatly into two groups; aficionados of the John Foxx-led band's first two albums, and the adorers of the Midge Ure-fronted group. However, before Foxx left and Ultravox! lost their exclamation point, they released a third set, the universally unloved Systems of Romance which sign-posted the way to the New Romantic sound that would take the Ure-era band to international stardom. Unfortunately, but understandably, too many tracks off that set are included in The Island Years, a round-up of Ultravox!'s early, pre-Ure recordings — unfortunately, because it's less the inclusions than the omissions that seriously mar this compilation, with "Saturday Night in the City of the Dead" and "Wide Boys" just two of the most self-evident. Forget the compilation, hunt out Ultravox! and Ha!-Ha!-Ha! instead.

Biography

Formed: 1974 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Rejecting the abrasive guitars of their punk-era contemporaries in favor of lushly romantic synthesizers, Ultravox emerged as one of the primary influences on the British electro-pop movement of the early '80s. Formed in London in 1974, the group — originally dubbed Ultravox! — was led by vocalist and keyboardist John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh), whose interest in synths and cutting-edge technology began during his school years. With an initial lineup consisting of bassist Chris Cross, keyboardist/violinist...
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