Now the stuff of legend, XTC were holed up with eccentric producer Todd Rundgren for this 1986 album in which band and producer battled, sniped and argued throughout. You'd never guess listening to the more pastoral parts of the record and despite what the band think, it's a really great album. This version is the reverse polarity edition which sorted out some of the original album's sound issues. Also includes notorious US hit 'Dear God' which was inexplicably left off the original album.
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Todd Rundgren has done many awful things in his time, one of which wasn't his production on this 1986 era XTC album in which the band and he fought throughout. Sure the 'song cycle' idea may not be the best idea (rarely does an album with songs blending into each other work), but the songs themselves and the orchestral arrangements? Magnificent.
I'm assuming this is the reverse polarity version of the album which is another odd story about it's production. Perhaps XTCs hatred of the record wasn't helped by someone not putting a wire in properly leaving the masters sounding thin and reedy. But thin or not this contains several of XTCs best recordings. I love the lazy summer feel of tracks like "The Meeting Place" with its hazy evocation of a romantic lunchtime meeting ("machines that make you kiss in time") which evokes a bygone era of simplicity. Something that XTC do rather well as they repeat the themes on 'Earn Enough For Us' a kitchen sink drama based around work and relationships. 'Another Satellite' too is another example of their stunning if bitter lyricism that's both weird and brilliant. These re-issues also include 'Dear God' left of the original album which was XTC in full 12 string mode and with lyrics that saw their records banned and burnt in America.
It's a deeply flawed album, with skippable moments and a strange dislocated sense. It was the sound of a band losing their mind but much of it is stunningly gorgeous and until 'Apple Venus' their most rustic and rural album.
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