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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Ultravox - 2012 Brilliant
Ultravox - 2012 Brilliant

ARTIST: Ultravox
ALBUM: Brilliant
LABEL: Chrysalis
SERIAL: 5099962397520
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Midge Ure - vocals, guitar, synthesizer * Chris Cross - bass, synthesizer * Billy Currie - piano, violin, synthesizer * Warren Cann - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Live * 02 Flow * 03 Brilliant * 04 Change * 05 Rise * 06 Remembering * 07 Hello * 08 One * 09 Fall * 10 Lie * 11 Satellite



Although an ocean prevented this reviewer from attending the 2009 Ultravox reunion tour, the promise of a new studio CD from the masters of progressive synthpop was more than anyone could hope for. It took a few years but the timing for 'Brilliant' is perfect as what was old is new again. In case you haven't noticed there's been a resurgent interest in 80's pop over the last couple years spearhead by new releases from the coiffed originators including Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and The Human League as well as younger bands like Mirrors, The Sound Of Arrows and Hurts acting as if its 1982 all over again. Dust off the Prophet-5 and re-tack the Peter Saville posters 'cause with all the melancholy and cut and paste 'music' masquerading as cutting edge these days, a little new romanticism is desperately needed especially that provided by Ultravox.

The Songs
The last time this line-up appeared together was on 1984's 'Lament' and what a welcome return to form it is. Sweeping and cinematic; 'Brilliant' is everything we've come to expect from Ultravox but I've been perplexed by the lukewarm reviews the disc has received thus far. The argument has been made the material is bland; the vocals are weak and even one misguided soul claimed it sounds like a Midge Ure solo album. Well to those folks who expected another 'Vienna', it's been 30 odd years since peak Ultravox and I'm certain if they attempted to recreate that classic album or sound, there would be an outcry from detractors criticizing the band for resting on their laurels. The truth is 'Brilliant' is expansive, powerful and hauntingly atmospheric. While the electronic pomp and circumstance that characterized their early efforts are gently buried in favor of subdued bubbling electronics and monochromatic European sound pictures, one listen to the propulsive title track and Billy Currie's striking violin work on the richly melodic and catchy 'Satellite' will have you convinced this is a great pop album and without a doubt one of the best and most promising comebacks in recent memory.

In Summary
Tours of both the UK and the Continent are lined up for autumn 2012 and I can't say I'm not disappointed there are no North American dates planned. That aside, with original singer John Foxx as prolific as ever and now 'Brilliant' sitting prominently as one of the year's finest moments; Ultravox followers have little to complain about. Buy without hesitation.

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