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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ultravox! - "Ha! Ha! Ha!" CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, 2006/1977 (Island)


Not to be confused with the much later Ultravox with Midge Ure, this is the first version of the band that included the singer/lyricist John Foxx.  "Ha! Ha! Ha!" is their second album, and much improved from their first, in my humble opinion.  Foxx had a JG Ballard bent with regards to his lyrics or even with the visual aspect of the band.  At the time I thought of them as Roxy Music Jr.  Or a cousin of Howard Devoto's Magazine.   Like those two other bands, Ultravox! had an orchestrational touch to their music, meaning not strings (although there is violin in the mix) but the way the band was set-up with a wash of sound coming from them. 

They came on the scene at the height of the punk era, and was for awhile marketed as a 'punk' band, but clearly that is not what or who they are.  Songs "ROckWrok" and "The Man Who Dies Everyday" project an icy future of bleakness, and their classic "Hiroshima mon amour" (title based on the film, but I suspect that they didn't see the movie) is a beautiful electro-melody.  Steve Lilywhite did the production which is clean and energetic.  A great second album.