The Sibyl

John Foxx Album Reviews

JOHN FOXX, one time lead singer of 80's synth icons Ultravox, electronic music pioneer and established solo artist in his own right.

Ultravox :
Ultravox !
Ha ! Ha! Ha!
Systems of Romance

Solo Artist

The Garden
The Golden Section
In Mysterious Ways
Cathedral Oceans

With Louis Gordon

Shifting City
The Pleasures of Electricity

John Foxx -- Cathedral Oceans

Cathedral Oceans cover

A review of Cathedral Oceans will appear here shortly

John Foxx and Louis Gordon -- Shifting City

Shifting City cover

Track Listing :

  • The Noise
  • Crash
  • Here We Go
  • Shadowman
  • Through My Sleeping
  • Forgotten Years
  • Everyone
  • Shifting City
  • Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible
  • An Ocean We Can Breathe

Recorded at MetaMatic Studio. Metamatic Records META0002CD

Personel :

  • John Foxx
  • Louis Gordon

More than a decade after John Foxx had last released an album, came the news that Shifting City was to be released. Recorded in 1995, but not released until 1997, this CD was eagerly awaited by his fan’s everywhere, and the simultaneous release of Cathedral Oceans, Foxx’s concept piece, only went to heighten expectations. And the fans were not let down in any way, Shifting City harking back to the heady days of Metamatic, brought bang up to date with eighties sounds and production. Teaming up with Louis Gordon, the pair were able to bounce ideas off each other, bringing in a vibrant sound which wouldn’t be out of place on any dance floor.

Kicking off with The Noise, this takes the listener right back to the Metamatic album, with it’s, dare I say, metal beat and harsh lyrics. This is followed by Crash, something taken straight from the dance floor, and probably quite alien to Foxx’s regular fan base. But it’s a grower, it’s lyrical simplicity “Crash / It Happens / Round and Round and Round and Round We Go” repeated throughout, the sound building up to a crescendo, reminds one almost of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” crossed with the best of Gary Numan.

And if the first two tracks have a harsh metallic sound to them, Here We Go is almost completely laid back. Foxx almost sounds like he’s sitting in a comfy chair as he sings this one, the chorus has a simple melody that sneaks up on you and you’ll find yourself humming at odd moments. Then it’s straight back to the metal dance beat with Shadowman. This one sounds rather dated as dance music goes, not my favourite on the album, but it’s another grower, almost menacing in places. The first half of the album is rounded off with Through My Sleeping. It starts off low-key, then a stuttering drum beat crashes in followed by the heavy weaponry. Very much a Beatles circa Abbey Road feel to the whole song. Only with bigger drums.

If this was vinyl, that would be the end of side one. The second part of the album opens with the low-key Forgotten Years and Everyone. Neither are highlights of the album, but feature Foxx as lounge singer and seem slightly out of place compared to the rest of the work. But this is just a build-up to the title track - Shifting City - starting off with a moan, and a menacing drum and synth sound, the song turns into another simple Beatles-esque number with a sing-along chorus to die for.

Concrete , Bulletproof, Invisible must surely be the coolest song title of all time. It’s another dance track, somewhat a product of it’s time and likely to date quickly. No lyrics either except for the mantra of “Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible” to a dance beat and a certain amount of thrashing about on various musical instruments. Still class, mind you.

The CD closes with An Ocean We Can Breathe, one of those cigarette-lighters-in-the-air numbers that the 27th rule of music says you have to have closing your album. Starts with a drone, then the drums, then the strongest lyrics on the album

And there’s another version
Of you as another person
And translate them through you to me
A bit of a triumph all round for Foxx and Gordon, a great end to a great album. You’re always apprehensive when one of your idols makes a long-awaited comeback. Are they going to bring out something totally dated and embarrassing ? In this case, all the fears were allayed by the end of the first track. An inspiring comeback from a man who had been away for far too long. And the good news is - there’s more to come.

John Foxx and Louis Gordon -- The Pleasures of Electricity

Definately not the album cover

A review of The Pleasures of Electricity will appear here just as sson as I've got my sweaty palms on a copy.

The Alistair Coleman Homepage Fiasco

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