By the time Ultravox released RAGE IN EDEN in 1981, the band members were already seasoned music veterans. The British group had formed in 1974 with Billy Currie on keyboards and violin, Warren Cann on drums, Chris Cross on bass, Stevie Shears on guitar, and John Foxx on lead vocals. However, after three studio albums, Foxx left in 1979 for a solo career and the group was pared down to the trio of Currie, Cann, and Cross. Enter vocalist/guitarist Midge Ure, who had been a member of Glam Pop band Slik, Post-Punk outfit Rich Kids, and had spent some time touring with Thin Lizzy. A forward-thinking musician, Ure had become involved with the electronic/synthpop movement in 1978, where he began working with the group Visage featuring Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Dave Formula, John McGeoch, and Barry Adamson. More importantly, Ultravox keyboardist Billy Currie was also part of Visage’s line-up, which inspired him to ask Ure to join Ultravox.
With Midge Ure taking on lead vocals and guitar, Ultravox returned to the record shops in 1980 with their album VIENNA. While the Foxx-led version of the group had achieved cult status, the Ure-fronted line-up was a commercial success. The album’s title track was a smash hit and rose to #2 on the UK singles chart and was kept off the top spot by, believe it or not, Joe Dolce’s novelty hit “Shaddap You Face.” Other classic Ultravox hits lifted from the VIENNA album included “Sleepwalk,” “All Stood Still,” and “Passing Strangers.” At the same time, Currie and Ure’s work with Visage was also a success, ushering in the New Romantic movement that also included Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and others. After struggling for several years in the music business, the members of Ultravox had finally achieved success. By the time 1981 rolled around, it was time to follow up VIENNA’s massive success with another album and RAGE IN EDEN hit the shops in September of that year. Rather than record a carbon copy of VIENNA, the group moved forward and released something that was unique, fresh, and exciting. While some were disappointed by the band’s direction, the album is now considered an electronic/synthpop classic.
Just a little over 40 years later, RAGE IN EDEN gets a well-deserved vinyl reissue and box set edition. Much like 2020’s VIENNA box set, the RAGE IN EDEN box is filled with audio wonders including a remaster of the original album, a Steven Wilson stereo remix, single mixes, non-album tracks, rehearsal recordings, live tracks, and a 5.1 remix from Wilson. Alongside the box set, there is also a double half-speed master vinyl LP pressing of the album that features the remastered version of the original album on LP 1 and all the contents of two of the band’s 12” singles on LP 2. This includes “The Thin Wall” (Single Version) and “The Voice” (Single Version) plus studio and live B-sides including the non-album tracks ‘I Never Wanted to Begin” and “Paths & Angles.” The RAGE IN EDEN album itself doesn’t replicate the sound of VIENNA. Instead, it sounds sonically similar to the music Visage was creating at the time… and for obvious reasons. RAGE IN EDEN is even more electronic than VIENNA, which still contained a fair amount of Ure thrashing on his guitar. Instead, the album is more adventurous but still filled with great songs. A wonderful album that remains a vital part of 1980s musical history.
RAGE IN EDEN (40th Anniversary Double Half-Speed Master Vinyl LP)