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Equatorial Ultravox

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
It's little surprise that Jonquil's Hugo Manuel, working under the Chad Valley name for his solo efforts, found himself opening for Active Child around the time of Equatorial Ultravox's release -- like that act and various others around the world in the early 2010s, there's a strong sense that Valley aims to reinterpret a kind of never-never land of angelic male singing and electronic-driven arrangements that seems to recombine a variety of impulses from the '80s into a combination that never could have existed until a later moment. Thus "Acker Bilk" finds Valley singing with a stateliness and ease that could almost be Joe Cassidy of Butterfly Child but with a calm focus that well matches the elegant music. "I Want Your Love" skates around the lush neo-Balearic/beardo disco of recent years with Valley's angelic yet very male energy -- a sense of falsetto as siren call to whoever might respond --- driving the whole. The eternal playing out of a ghostly feeling of Auto-Tuned sleek disco resonates through "Fast Challenges," steady pulse turning into Hi-NRG celebration, while "Reach Lines" warps bits of that into a slow, bass-heavy crawl with funk-tinged keyboard lines, huge echoed female backing vocals, and a sense of melancholic robots slow dancing in a sunset. "Shell Suite" brings guitar to the fore as a nice touch for a final song, but the whole is a strikingly good debut effort and a further sign of how a new pathway for solo singer/songwriters via the electronic medium continues to open up. ~ Ned Raggett, Rovi