With the successes of Vienna and its follow-up, Rage in Eden, Ultravox's position in the music scene was unassailable, further fortified by frontman Midge Ure's foray into solo-dom with the summer 1982 hit cover of the Walker Brothers' "No Regrets." The band's "Reap the Wild Wind" followed it up the U.K. chart that fall, a taster for the band's sixth album. And what a portentous taste it was. While "Wind" buffeted and whooshed once again around nostalgia for a past never lived, "Hymn" (its melody lifted from "Mourning Star" by Ure's last band, the Zones) wrestled with faith in a faithless age and prayed its way up the chart later that fall, while the dirge "Visions in Blue" saw the spring caught in its icy grip. But it was the fourth song spun off the album, "We Came to Dance," that best defined the overall themes of the set. Having helped create a movement renowned for its fashion victims and superficiality, Ultravox recoiled from the Frankenstein they'd birthed. "The Song (We Go)" may have been a cry of welcome, but both "Dance" and "Serenade" make clear the music scene's terrifying capacity to unleash both Dionysian abandon and militaristic conformity. "When the Scream Subsides" further fuels the album's existential angst, which reaches its emotional nadir on the suicidal "Cut and Run." With their toe-tapping rhythms, billowing synths, and rousing melodies, one is often tempted to ignore the darkness of Ultravox's themes, but with Quartet, the band deliberately made that nigh on impossible.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson