Back in 2006, I wrote a review of the first three Ultravox albums - the ones recorded in the John Foxx/Island Records/pre-fame period of their history. At the time, they'd just received a 30th anniversary re-release with bonus tracks added. This made me feel very old. Not as old, though, as when I discovered recently that later this month, they’re getting a 40th anniversary re-release as a box set called The Island Years. It’s virtually the same material, but with the bonus tracks shunted off to a separate disc and supplemented by a couple of previously unreleased BBC sessions (including the OGWT set mentioned in my review).
They won't get me this time, but only because they got me last time. Still, that’s how the music industry works these days – they find the stuff that hooked you as a teenager, and keep reselling it to you every few years. Last week saw another example of this, as ABC released an album of new songs called The Lexicon Of Love II, some 34 years after their world-conquering debut of almost the same name. From a distance, it seems like a grossly cynical attempt at prodding the nostalgia glands of people my age. Which is why we need to get in close.