Ultravox - Vienna

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  "Vienna" is the fourth studio album by British new wave band Ultravox, first released in July 1980. The album was the first made by Ultravox with their best-known line-up, after Midge Ure had taken over as lead vocalist and guitarist following the departures of John Foxx and Robin Simon. "Vienna" was produced by renowned German producer Conny Plank who had also produced Ultravox's previous album "Systems of Romance", and mixed at Plank's studio near Cologne, Germany. The album had a slow start, but the release in January 1981 of the title track as the third single from the album heralded the band's commercial breakthrough worldwide and led to healthy sales throughout 1981. "Vienna" peaked at #3 in the UK albums chart and reached the top ten in Australia, New Zealand and several European countries.

Ultravox effectively changed pace, style and audience with the arrival of Ure, who had already participated in early New Romantic ventures with Visage and actually steered the ensemble in that direction for the years to come. Many different styles are in use on the album. "Astradyne" is a long instrumental featuring sweeping, majestic synthesizer arrangements throughout, while "Mr. X" is a simpler, much sparser affair. The lyrics to the album's songs were mainly written by Ure and drummer Warren Cann, who also takes a rare lead vocal on "Mr. X".

Reviews for "Vienna" were mixed, with Ure's introduction and the move towards mainstream pop dividing the critics. Sounds gave the album an enthusiastic review, and challenged the reader, "I dare you to find another band who can mix Euro systems-rock, electronics, Can's fairground style and English music with such panache". Melody Maker was generally positive but felt the album contained weak moments, saying that "the first half of side two reveals the most tedious liabilities. Electronic clichés are no worse than guitar clichés, but they're more likely to sound pompous". Overall, however, the review concluded "Ultravox deserve success. This should do the trick". NME was indifferent, calling "Vienna" "an album of gaudy, sometimes magnificent, but mostly hollow edifices, housing songs that replace Foxx's elliptical imagery with clumsily verbose descriptions of similar scenery", and described that imagery as "seemingly derived from Hollywood films of the continent... it's similarly full of glamour and lacking in true essence".


Ultravox - Vienna

U.K. Chrysalis CHR 1296 (1980)

Album produced by Ultravox and Conny Plank.

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minor signs of wear.

For full track listing see Own tab.

Browse this category: Synth' Pop Albums