TITLE: Systems of Romance
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Slow Motion, Quiet Men
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful. They still weren’t a ripple on the US scene.
LINEUP: John Foxx, Warren Cann, Chris Cross, Billy Currie, Robin Simon
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Still with Foxx leading the group, Ultravox loses the “!” and the punk rock and moves toward an embrace of electronics and synthesizers.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After two rather unsuccessful albums, and an appetite for evolution, Ultravox moves right into synthesizer rock with this album. It works on several levels.
First, the band feels comfortable in this setting, especially Currie, where we get the first taste of his electronically altered violin sound in “Slow Motion”. New guitarist Simon fits into this sound, adding sparse riffs and colorful fills to the proceedings.
Lyrically, Foxx is treading into Gary Numan territory, which is fine. But Foxx isn’t Numan – his vocals aren’t icy to be like Numan and they’re still a pain point for me. Still, the new sound is encouraging for listeners, and those who are used to the Midge Ure Ultravox would not be disappointed in this one.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The dreaded US tour did this incarnation in – Foxx was unhappy with the reception and the band and Simon decided to stay in the US for a while. So when they came back Cann, Cross and Currie needed to plot their next move…
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of bonus tracks (b-side and long version of a single)
GRADE: B+: Love the sound of the album more than anything. Foxx still is a bother, but I can work around him.