Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My '80s Remastered - Vienna

In 1980 the British art rock band Ultravox had begun a new phase in their career. Lead singer and song writer John Foxx had recently left the band to pursue a solo career and the remaining members tapped former Rich Kids guitarist Midge Ure to be the band's new singer. The first fruit of this new union was the album Vienna. The title track was a moody power ballad that mixed spartan electronics, a rocking break and huge dollops of popmpous moodiness. It captured the hearts of the public, dominated the charts, and sent the band on it's way to stardom in the UK - the next few years were very good for the band. Of all the Midge Ure led albums, Vienna is my favorite - things get a bit too grandiose and swelling as the years go by. I recently got my hands on the 2000 remaster of it. I have to say that after 25 years it still sounds pretty damn good. It has four bonus tracks and the black and white video for the title track. The album kicks off with a strong one two punch - Astradyne is a muscular, prog/art rock meets new wave track - loads of synths, big chunky bass, loads of atmosphere and a deliciously squiggly solo. It leads straight into New Europeans - another big rocking track that makes good use of a giant "London Calling"-ish guitar riff. It also features some funny, cheesy lyrics - one of Midge's strengths as a songwriter, and a nice, rolling piano solo. This song for me is all about the guitar - it kicks.

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