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Friday, 5 August 2016

XTC = Ecstasy

I could prattle on about XTC all day and generally do. Here's a short appreciation from the ASH Archive.

Since this we've had a Deluxe Blu ray edition of Oranges And Lemons and Skylarking is on the way, released on 16 October 2016. There's also been beautifully presented Vinyl releases of Skylarking and English Settlement and Andy has written a song on the new Monkees album.

I got into XTC a little late around Drums And Wires, it was an interview on a Saturday Radio 1 program that did it and from then on I just went APE (sic) for them.

Black Sea for me still remains a fantastic album and gets forgotten about in the post Dukes fandom.

English Settlement is a tougher listen for newcomers, but well worth the effort and Jason Falkner has said that it was an album that changed his life and that's good enough for me.

I know many people, but my closest circle are virtually all XTC fans, it becomes part of your DNA and these people share a love of humour, music and looking at life in a similar way that I do.

I've wrote defences of the two XTC albums that get stick. Mummer is dark and probably commercial suicide, but come on, Human Alchemy is worth the admission alone and who doesn't tap their foot to Love On A Farm Boy's Wages.

The Big Express seems to get hammered in the light of the Dukes wonderment, but for me it is one of the most listenable albums all the way through.

If you want Psych and Pastoral XTC it's not for you, but if you want creativity, it damn well should be.

I've even wrote an attack on Skylarking, saying it's not as good as everyone thinks it is, it is of course, but what bugs me is that everything before is looked upon as some bastard child and newcomers believe XTC's career started there, the rest was practising.

My argument is that others could write songs in the Skylarking mould, but no one else could write Human Alchemy or Train Running Low On Soul Coal.

Oranges And Lemons remains my favourite album, it's just so damn good, Andy Partridge was at the height of his songwriting game.

Nonsuch is a bit of a curate's egg, when it's on, it's the best you can get, Wrapped In Gray, The Disappointed, Books Are Burning etc, but it seems too long and patchy.

I also vary with opinion on the two swansong albums.

I love the arrangements and feel of Apple Venus Volume 1 and agree that Wasp Star is more straight on XTC, but the back half of Wasp Star stands up with anything they've ever done and Church Of Women may just be the best song that Andy Partridge has ever wrote.

It appears that Partridge and Moulding will never get together again and it's great that the demos are being released via Andy's Ape website, but wouldn't it be great if they did, for just one last message to the world.

As many of you know, I'm a massive collector and I love so much music, when people ask me what sort of music I like, it's hard to define and changes too, but XTC are always mentioned.

My collection is organised, proper albums wise to a point. Bootlegs are not, but I do have my XTC bootlegs ordered to just grab at will.

You can find more information and buy some ace stuff at Andy Partridge's website at

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