Customer Reviews: Brilliant
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on June 14, 2012
OK, let's start by laying some groundwork. I am a huge Ultravox fan, Systems of Romance is still my favourite album of all time after more than 30 years (bought it in 1979). When Foxx left I remained a fan of both. The Midge Ure fronted Ultravox made some great songs but I found their albums very patchy. Still, they remain an enduring favourite.

Brilliant is a lot better than I thought it would be. Songs like Lie and Satellite are as good as their best work, with all the classic Ultravox elements present and correct, which makes it mystifying that they should be hidden away near the end of the album. Mind you, the first three songs are also good, with Midge using a sort of whispery vocal on the title track to give it a different slant. The synth sounds are also a good mix of the familiar and more up to date sounds that make this a distinctly more modern Ultravox. You know instantly who it is but songs like Rise make it more than just a rehash of past glories. Overall, I think this is a better album than Lament, or anything that followed it, and is right up there with Rage in Eden and Vienna (Quartet is my favourite Ure-era album). With a harder edge it could have been as good as either but songs like Change and Remembering are pretty soft and the production is a little too slick for my taste. It helps to turn it up but the guitars are mixed way too far back.

I've read a lot of negative reviews of this album but I find them all ridiculous because what they are criticising is what Ultravox do, what they have always done. Its almost as if they expected Ultravox to make a U2 or a Pet Shop Boys album. They haven't, what they have made is a very solid Ultravox album and I really don't know how they can be criticised for that. It is exactly what anyone should expect from them and if you liked any of their hit singles or albums from the first half of the 1980s, you are almost certain to enjoy this welcome return.
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on June 14, 2012
Ultravox is back with a bang. I was excited but skeptical when i heard the band was working on a new Album. I knew it would be better than U-Vox given that the guys admitted that their heart wasn't into it while recording U-Vox, but i didn't expect this new release to be as good as the 4 outstanding Albums "Vienna" , "Rage in eden" , "Quartet" and "Lament". I'm here to tell everyone that to my surprise it's actually better than all Albums with the exception of maybe "Quarter". I know that Ultravox fans are almost equally divided as far as their favorite release.I think "Rage in eden" is a top with 28% .
I rank all 4 in my top 100 albums of all time with "Quartet" ranking second to "The Hurting" release by Tears for Fears. Just to bring some musical perspective about this review.I'm not going to use big adjectives to try and sound sophisticated.I'm just a big music fan.I have over 3000 cds. more than a third is from the 80's new wave and modern rock era. artists like,Omd,Tears for Fears,Ultravox, Icehouse, Human League,Blancmange,Heaven 17, The Cure, echo and the Bunnymen, Thompson Twins, Roxy Music,The Fixx,Talk Talk,etc. I also listen and like current acts like Muse, Travis,Coldplay,The Killers,Radiohead,Coldplay,Keane,and lighter stuff like heather Nova and kelly Clarkson. This is the bottom line about this new Ultravox cd appropriately titled "Brilliant". the Album clocks in at 53 minutes with 12 songs.It's about 3 songs and 12 minutes more than the average Ultravox Album. There are 6 standouts,5 solid Album tracks, and one song that i would consider a skip or a weak song. Here is a quick overview of the Album.The production is top notch. Midge Ure vocals and Guitars never sounded better. It sounds like vintage Ultravox taking advantage of new recording techniques to sound even crispier.
Track Score Quick description
1. Live 10- Album opens with "Hymn" like Anthem coming very close to the masterpiece.
2. Flow 9+ Slight drop of in pace and quality but awesome solo guitar sending chills to my legs
pushes this song to a standout level.bass and drums sound a bit like Depeche Mode with
with some U2 like guitars.
3. Brilliant 9.5 Solid first single.Although "Live" is slightly stronger as a potential hit prospect.
4. Change 9.5 One of my favorite songs on the Album borrows sounds from "Model" and "Fade to Grey"
to create a completely different and original melody.
5.Rise 8.5 Solid Album track. here the quality drops with 4 of the next five songs ranging from
good to very good.With the exception of song 9 titled "Fall" which is a skip.
6.Remembering 7 Pleasant song with several interesting musical ideas.
7.Hello 7.5 The longest song of the Album. Almost 6 minutes. Catchy but not good enough to be a
a single. solid enough if squeezed between 2 standouts.
8.This One 7.5 Like remembering, another quiet song with several interesting musical ideas.Not at the
of "Visions in blue" but slightly better than "remembering" and significantly superior
the track that follows.
9.Fall 5 By far the weakest song on the album.In fact the only boring song that i would call a
a skip.Considering the cd has 12 songs, I'm looking at 2 songs as bonus tracks as far
judging the album in it's entirety.
10.Lie 10 Let it lie is my favorite song on the Album.I call it a masterpiece. perfect song on
level of "reap the wild wind" the best song i heard since "Street spirit"by
11.Satellite 9.5 Another standout. potential single as well.One of the catchiest songs on the album.
great chorus.Nice solo violin.(Especially the second half.First half seem to stall)
12.Contact 8 Album closes with another gentle and quiet song.

In summary there is a reason why most fans rave about the album.Don't pay attention to the hand full of negative reviews.It must be bitter John Foxx fans.Even my 15 year old daughter loves the album. She is a big fan of the 80's. She discovered the 80's on her own.i didn't even have to push.This album has 6 songs that i would call standouts plus 5 solid album tracks which as a fan and benefit of technology i like the extra tracks.One can always eliminate a song or two for his or her continues listening pleasure.I do wish that there was an actual Album (Record) release as well.In that case i believe there would have been 2 less songs, since the songs average over 4 and a half minutes each. I do admit the album would flow (No pond intended) better without the song "Fall" and another slow song. but as far as grading this Album, it's 5 stars without a doubt. "The Hurting" by Tears for Fears is my favorite album of all time has 2 skips. Any album with 4 or 5 standouts is a 5 star as far as i'm concerned, (Unless the rest of the Album is awful of course).
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on June 28, 2012
This is how you make a comeback album. It's like they never left at all. Brilliant. If you've always enjoyed Ultravox's music then you won't be disappointed. This is a dream come true having them back again. BUY IT NOW!!! (Favorite track: "Satellite")
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on September 6, 2012
I have been a huge fan of Ultravox since their first days with Dennis Leigh (John Foxx). At first I was disappointed by the change to Midge Ure as front man, but their stylish work, 'Vienna', etc. very quickly won me over. This latest effort has all the style and virtuosity of earlier work, but is basically all ballads. 'Rise' and 'Hello' are great tunes, but overall the songs are slow, downbeat and lack the power of previous favourites like 'Sleepwalk', 'Accent on Youth', 'The Voice', etc. If you are a fan of their more lyrical and introspective songs you will surely enjoy this new release. New listeners should not miss hearing previous releases from their heyday.
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on April 14, 2014
If you loved Ultravox in the 80's, then you're going to really enjoy this album. I can't say that they reinvented themselves with this album but you know what, that's okay, because what I wanted was more of the Ultravox that I remembered. I purchased this album on vinyl. It's comes on 2 discs that are clear instead of black. The records are striking in the their appearance and the album cover is made of very high-quality and heavy card-stock. For fans of Ultravox, I think this album is a must buy.
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on July 8, 2013
I have always loved Ultravox and this album is truly wonderful. Every song every note and I am amazed that it was not awarded Grammy's for such great song writing. I love this new romantic age music and it is so rare to hear anything like this these days. DO NOT HESITATE AND BUY A COPY. Thank you Ultravox for giving us a great cd. The sound quality is brilliant, It is too bad there are no more good radio stations in Los Angeles that would play good music because it really should be heard. Vienna, Rage in Eden and Brilliant are my favorite Ultravox albums. Midge's voice sores and the violin is sweet as usual, After two listens I am singing it already. GREAT ALBUM and let's all hope they do more soon.
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on March 21, 2014
Ultravox are a great band and this album is excellent. The songs are well written and arranged, and the sound of the recording is extraordinarily rich, strong, and spacious. I would compare this to Beautiful Friction by The Fixx, in terms of how much it remains true to the band's sound and identity, while employing newer recording technology to make a more beautiful sounding recording than was previously possible.
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on June 5, 2012
It is so refreshing to have new material by my all-time favorite band. Although Brilliant is currently unavailable through Amazon ("Out Of Stock"), I have listened to the title track and samplings from all of the other tracks. There is already an excellent fan-made video for the song Brilliant.

Based on the title track, this is classic Ultravox: Swirling melodies and keyboards, lush production, soaring vocals, intriguing lyrics. It's all there for the established Ultravox fan, and new listeners as well.

If you are a big fan from back in the day, you are no doubt buying this CD regardless of any reviews.

My greatest hope is that the band will tour the US in support of this new CD as well as their amazing catalog of classics.
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on June 6, 2012
Let's face it - there were a lot more ways this could go wrong than right.

After hearing the wretched chorus for the title track (the first single), I was concerned that it would be more like the inane spiritual musings of Midge Ure's latter day solo work than the mid-80's Ultravox sound. (NOTE: If you like the chorus for "Brilliant" or Ure's solo work since about 2003, this is probably a five-star record for you, and I'm sorry if I sound like I've insulted you.)

Like Madness' excellent "The Liberty of Norton Folgate," this is both entirely recognizable as the same band and a more measured, mature songwriting. Not better than the mid-80's work, but also not trying to be the mid-80's work. This is an extremely well-crafted pop record by veterans who know what they're doing.

This is more "Love's Great Adventure" than "The Thin Wall" - it has the finely-tuned soaring, romantic arrangements, but leans toward their happier, more positive work. I still find them to be at their best when they dabble in that keening darkness, like they do in "Lie", "Changes" and "Hello". By the same token, this record only whiffs for me when they drift too far into Disney Channel territory, like "Brilliant" and "Rise."

Ultimately, very few records don't clunk somewhere, but were I to make a friend an Ultravox mix tape (which would be AWESOME), a couple of these would make it. Which is far better than I expected.
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on June 5, 2012
Exactly what you would want Ultravox to sound like after a 25 year wait.

No forced retro vibe. Just pure Ultravox. BRILLIANT !
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