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XTC: The best British band of them all?

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I figure they must be, really.

They had a real knack for producing songs that have a nice poppy chorus, but are odd throughout the rest of the song. And they often throw in a few bars of a totally random style somewhere near the end of the song, like reggae or ska or something similar.

And the lyrics are nice and weird, as it should be with all great British pop.

[yt]EVKsxGyjo6g[/yt]

[yt]OfrQDQfbRJY[/yt]

[yt]slGwMmG_GVg[/yt]

[yt]5J5GVVz0gjA[/yt]

And that's just a snippet of their wonderful output. What say you, mates?

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Didn't the lead singer from XTC go a bit mental? I think he just got off the tour bus mid tour and walk off down the road. But I may be getting confused with another band.

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Didn't the lead singer from XTC go a bit mental? I think he just got off the tour bus mid tour and walk off down the road. But I may be getting confused with another band.

Andy Partridge had a bit of a breakdown that manifested itself as intense stagefright, and the band never toured again (bar a few promotional TV things around "Oranges & Lemons"). Full story here.

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I follow him on Twitter, and it sounds like he has his ups and downs moodwise, to say the least.

Poor guy, I want to give him a hug and say 'Don't forget you are probably in the top 3% of talented humans on the planet.'

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Rise from your gwave!

 

So I recently decided to do a deep dive into XTC after seeing the fairly recent doc on Sky Arts, for which there is this excellent trailer:

 

 

 

Not for the first time in my life I'm kicking myself for not discovering a band's work sooner. I'd always liked 'Senses Working Overtime', and 'Making Plans for Nigel' as a kid, but I'd never dove in as an adult, despite occasionally hearing them referred to as geniuses.

 

And of course, they were fucking amazing. Andy Partridge talks in the documentary about how they started pretty good and got better, but I do think there was a sweet spot which is basically 'Drums and Wires' and 'Black Sea'. The latter in particular is utterly perfect in my opinion. The opening 5 tracks (Respectable Street/Generals and Majors/Living Through another Cuba/Love at First Sight/Rocket from a Bottle) are just smash after smash, it then takes a pause for breath with 'No Language in Our Lungs' (which is still great, but musically a definite breather), but then you're into another run of belters (Towers of London/Paper and Iron/Burning with Optimism's Flames/Sgt Rock), until Travels in Nihilon turns things all experimental.

 

I also really like 'English Settlement', 'Mummer', and 'The Big Express' , but I feel like there's an urgency to that first pair of albums with Dave Gregory on guitar which perfectly blends the New Wave punk of their first two albums with pure pop hooks, but also an experimental inquisitiveness. What Partridge himself calls "Gently exploratory pop music".

 

I still have a few more albums to try. I haven't quite clicked with 'Skylarking' yet, but I'll probably fall asleep to it on the train at some point and wake up loving it. 

 

Excellent clips of 'Helicopter' from 'Drums and Wires'

 

 

And 'Living Through another Cuba'/'Generals and Majors':

 

 

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Wow, I like the look of that doc!

 

This was a great thread, filled with the greats...even the unintelligible links still speak to the ages.

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I'm another in the "really like what I've heard, which is basically their three hits" camp. But now I have Spotify there's no excuse for such ignorance. I must investigate further.

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I have a few XTC albums on my MP3 player and this came up at random a while back whilst I was walking to work - it was one of those "oh shit, this is good" moments:

 

 

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I guess one of the dead links above was this tune, which is peerless really. It's a perfect slice of folk pop, and one of the many reasons I think the thread title is still spot on:

 

 

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Great resurrection. It's worth tracking down Apple Venus and Wasp Star as I believe they're the pinaccle of the group's achievements.

 

First one is a sumptuous orchestral pastoral song cycle, the second is a guitar based pop album.

 

Not on streaming services I don't think, but both were reissued on vinyl last year and sound beautiful.

 

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I'm still don't know XTC very well but I've listened to Complicated Game every couple of days for the last couple of years. It's astonishing.
 

 

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