TS: XTC's Black Sea vs. English Settlement

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
sea 26
settlement 17


nostormo, Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:29 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea by an absolute mile. Never understood why English Settlement is rated as one of the best XTC albums. It's not that it's a bad album but they have such better ones.

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:39 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea without any hesitation or doubt. I'll always have a fondness for English Settlement because it was the first XTC album I heard in full, and thus intrigued me enough to check out the rest of the catalogue. However, while I do feel Settlement has a lot of high points (the opening three tracks are ludicrously strong, and Colin wrote two of them!), it's been a long time since I've felt like listening to the whole thing in one go, and it contains one of my least favourite XTC songs ever in 'Leisure'. 'Living Through Another Cuba' is only track on Black Sea that I would even think about skipping. It's one of my top 3 all-time favourite XTC albums, and definitely my favourite of the Chambers years.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:39 (four years ago) Permalink

*the only track

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:41 (four years ago) Permalink

it contains one of my least favourite XTC songs ever in 'Leisure'

Seconded. In fact, all of side 3 can eat my poo.

Love Black Sea, and it's probably my favorite of theirs after Skylarking.

Shart Week (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:47 (four years ago) Permalink

Settlement, pretty easily. Black Sea's best moment is obviously Travels In Nihilon

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:51 (four years ago) Permalink

Melt The Guns is pretty annoying too. I was always very fond of Knuckle Down but yeah that second side isn't great. Black Sea on the other hand is one of my favourite albums of theirs, probably my third favourite after Skylarking and Drums & Wires.

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 17 August 2013 15:56 (four years ago) Permalink

how can you call a second side with one of the greatest closing one-two punches 'not great'

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:04 (four years ago) Permalink

'it's nearly africa' and 'knuckle down' is the only moment this album even threatens to lose it, although in truth I actually kinda like Partridges aggressively politically correct, right-on steez on this album - it's emphatic enough to avoid accusations of tokenism

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:10 (four years ago) Permalink

also Leisure is amazing

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:11 (four years ago) Permalink

it's this album's sequel to No Language In Our Lungs, which is in fact Black Sea's best moment and maybe XTC's best song, how could I forget above, dear me

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:12 (four years ago) Permalink

'No Language In Our Lungs' is my personal highlight of Black Sea too; to say that I don't see 'Leisure' as a sequel to it would be an incredible understatement. I'm generally in agreement with what's been said here so far: side 3 of Settlement is definitely the weakest side of the album for me; and when I seriously think about it, it's probably the worst side of vinyl XTC ever did.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:21 (four years ago) Permalink

I mean, look at this: 'Melt The Guns', 'Leisure', 'It's Nearly Africa', 'Knuckle Down'... sure, it's only four songs, but can anyone really think of a side of vinyl on any other XTC album that is worse than this? I sure as hell can't. For what it's worth though, I do like 'Knuckle Down' a lot.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:23 (four years ago) Permalink

I played in an XTC covers band for fun years ago, we did No Language and it never failed to raise the hairs on my neck at the 'I would have made this instrumental' bit, such a great song.

MaresNest, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:24 (four years ago) Permalink

XP - give me those four over nearly all of Wasp Star anyday

MaresNest, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:25 (four years ago) Permalink

Trying to remember what songs were inexplicably shoehorned into the Black Sea CD running order pre remastering.

Chain of Command, Smokeless Zone, The Somnambulist...err

MaresNest, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:28 (four years ago) Permalink

I played in an XTC covers band for fun years ago, we did No Language and it never failed to raise the hairs on my neck at the 'I would have made this instrumental' bit, such a great song.

― MaresNest, Saturday, August 17, 2013 4:24 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yeah, that's my favourite part of the song! Another song on Black Sea which I think has a great middle 8 is 'Burning With Optimism's Flames'... the bit where it goes "Now every biiiird and beeee just fuel the fiiiire for me... wo wo wo wo wo wo... yes yes yes yes yes yeeeees!". It just kicks the song up a notch and adds to the giddiness of it all!

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:29 (four years ago) Permalink

xpost:

'Chain Of Command' was on the Drums & Wires reissue... Black Sea had 'Don't Lose Your Temper', which I actually really like.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:30 (four years ago) Permalink

One day I will get around to chopping together every one of XTC's middle eights in an extended medley.

MaresNest, Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I even prefer Black Sea to Drums and Wires.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:41 (four years ago) Permalink

If I ever wanted to get anyone interested in this band, I'd give them Black Sea to represent the touring years and Skylarking to represent the studio years. I think that while both of these albums are not short of "XTC quirk", they're actually two of the most accessible albums the band have made.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:53 (four years ago) Permalink

it contains one of my least favourite XTC songs ever in 'Leisure'

Leisure is one of my absolute favorites, like I can't think of any other song that communicates the lethargic frustration/occasional burst of angry self hatred that sitting around all day in a bedsit without a job to go to induces. The 'I'VE FORGOTTEN HOW TO USE MY LEGS' bit is one of the best XTC moments,this sense of pathetic anger you get when you spend long periods of tikme onm your own.
I can see why people might hate it, but I think it's wonderful how it's not some cathartic power cord thrash but this grating, perky music hall thing that is horribly out of tune and woozy, like the anger can't be cathartic because you've spent the last three days sitting around your house playing video games and watching TV so the anger can only come out as this pathetic self-hatred.

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:56 (four years ago) Permalink

long periods of tikme onm your own= long periods of time on your own. Reading that b(?ack it seems quite a lot coherent than it did in my head but hopefully I kind of got acroos what I meant(?)

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:58 (four years ago) Permalink

It's been a little while since I listened to it but I remember Black Sea being my least favourite of their early/Chambers era albums, I'm surprised to see so many people rating it over English Settlement. I still love Black Sea but stuff like Generals and Majors and Love at First Sight feels like it should have been B-sides to tracks on Drums and Wires or something, Like it's XTC by numbers or something.

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:03 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea has less of the quirky/twitchy tone that makes the preceding three albums but they hadn't started writing songs as gorgeous as 'All of a Sudden' or 'Yacht Dance' yet.

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:10 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm listening to Black Sea now and I love it and feel guilty that I was badmouthing it earlier, beacsue the thread is making me think of them as a TS thing but I love them both, sorry for sounding negative about Black Sea

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:16 (four years ago) Permalink

I discovered XTC after being blown away by "It's Nearly Africa" on WOMAD's Music and Rhythm compilation; I love the sound of it and still think it's a great song. So English Settlement was my first XTC album and a sentimental favorite.

Black Sea's several peaks are better than anything on Settlement, but Settlement gets my vote for the expansiveness and the journey.

(I love "Melt the Guns" too--that relentless rimshot rhythm and crack production tickles my ears enough to not care about obvious lyrics or a super-yelpy Partridge.)

Hideous Lump, Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:20 (four years ago) Permalink

^^largely agree

Eight Model Play on Leisure totally OTM, of course

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:36 (four years ago) Permalink

XTC have a nice line in quietly furious songs/songs with bouncy melodies and angry lyrics- 'That's really Super, Supergirl', 'Wait 'til your boat goes Down', 'Minature Sun', I think they're a band for angry introverts.

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:53 (four years ago) Permalink

their best songs tend to get really fucken angry though, c.f. complicated game, no language

imago, Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:54 (four years ago) Permalink

I really love 'Miniature Sun', I've always liked how it goes from that elated middle eight right into that narked off final verse; it reflects its lyrical content very well.

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Saturday, 17 August 2013 17:57 (four years ago) Permalink

The b-sides around EngSett are the missing side 5

Punch and Judy / Heaven is paved / and the rest..

Mark G, Saturday, 17 August 2013 21:40 (four years ago) Permalink

Tissue Tigers!

MaresNest, Saturday, 17 August 2013 23:21 (four years ago) Permalink

Wow, this is tough. I reviewed the tracklisting and its got to be English Settlement for me. I adore every single track, even the of vocals of Leisure and Melt The Guns. It's sequenced perfectly and takes me on a tour of Swindon every time. I'm not even tired of Senses after all these years.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 18 August 2013 01:46 (four years ago) Permalink

I read that Andy Partridge spent a lot of his childhood confined to bed due to illness. Do you think that this produces a certain kind of personality type? I think Steve Harley also spent a lot of childhood bedridden, and their records both have this almost prissy attention to detail and neatness, they both create the type of music that gets described as 'well-constructed', i think. Does this come from spending large part of your formative years in a restricted environment that you have total control over, not having to interact with other people?

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Sunday, 18 August 2013 11:27 (four years ago) Permalink

A lot of XTC songs feel '3D' to me, like they construct these detailed but claustrophobic/hermetically sealed worlds/landscapes. If you are a bedridden child you must take refuge in fantasy and imagination to a large extent, so it must be an odd combination of freedom, like you can create worlds that you have total control over, but also restriction. I read a description of XTC's music somewhere that said that though a lot of it is jaunty/whimsical, there's always this sense just under the surface of something being not quite right.

squeak and gibber (Eight Model Play), Sunday, 18 August 2013 11:27 (four years ago) Permalink

"Black Sea" wins this pretty easily tho "English Settlement" is full of great things. I don't like the sequencing of "English Settlement", opening with two Moulding songs and then having NINE Andy Partridge songs in a row, I'm afraid that's too much Partridge in one sitting for me esp. as so many of the songs are him at his most long-winded and indigestible.

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Sunday, 18 August 2013 12:25 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't often listen to English Settlement from front to back in one sitting but I've only ever dealt with it as a CD or digital album and usually jump back and forth between different tracks. I can see how it might be unwieldy as a vinyl double album.

Eight Model Play, Sunday, 18 August 2013 12:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I hadn't listened to it in years (and I mean, like, decades) but I listened to in one sitting and that long sequence of AP songs really began to drag

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Sunday, 18 August 2013 12:35 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea. Still never fails to exhilarate and is also one of my all time favorite crunchy guitar records. The albums that preceded it were too squirrelly and right after it they swerved away from that stinging crunch.

Eng Sett has an absolutely killer single lp in it but yeah side 3 ewww.

Spot Lange (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 18 August 2013 15:55 (four years ago) Permalink

gonna edit them both into a single LP, for the fuck of it, and also to further demonstrate my preference for ES:

SIDE A

runaways
ball & chain
senses working overtime
jason & the argonauts
no thugs in our house
no language in our lungs

SIDE B

towers of london
fly on the wall
leisure
english roundabout
snowman
travels in nihilon

imago, Sunday, 18 August 2013 16:11 (four years ago) Permalink

This thread has just set me off on a massive XTC binge... thanks ILX! (and I mean that with absolutely zero sarcasm, of course)

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Sunday, 18 August 2013 19:31 (four years ago) Permalink

A lot of XTC songs feel '3D' to me, like they construct these detailed but claustrophobic/hermetically sealed worlds/landscapes. If you are a bedridden child you must take refuge in fantasy and imagination to a large extent, so it must be an odd combination of freedom, like you can create worlds that you have total control over, but also restriction.

Possibly related to that thought, Andy once said that he and Colin determined that Andy was in indoor person who wrote outdoor songs, and Colin was an outdoor person who wrote indoor songs.

Hideous Lump, Monday, 19 August 2013 01:22 (four years ago) Permalink

English Settlement, side 2 and a half..

1. Blame The Weather (3:37) Written-By – C. Moulding*
2. Tissue Tigers (The Arguers) (3:55) Written-By – A. Partridge*
3. Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass (5:07) Written-By – Partridge*
4. Punch And Judy (2:44) Written-By – Partridge*
5. Looking For Footprints (3:28) Written-By – Partridge*

Mark G, Monday, 19 August 2013 15:32 (four years ago) Permalink

this is really close, voting english settlement i guess

ciderpress, Monday, 19 August 2013 15:40 (four years ago) Permalink

like this basically boils down to '60 minutes of XTC at their peak or 40 minutes of XTC at their peak'

ciderpress, Monday, 19 August 2013 15:42 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm with Mark here, English Settlement would be maybe their greatest album (or at least, it would stand up next to Skylarking) had they replaced some of the dead spots on Side 3 with those excellent B-sides, at least "Tissue Tigers" and "The World is Full of Angry Young Men"

frogbs, Monday, 19 August 2013 16:01 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't like the sequencing of "English Settlement"...

I'm sure I've opined on another XTC thread, but I've only ever owned the American English Settlement and I think the sequencing of that is excellent. That means I'm not overly familiar with "Leisure" or "Knuckle Down" on the seemingly maligned side 3. I have no problems with "Melt The Guns" and "Africa," love them both.

Same old bland-as-sand mood mouthings (Dan Peterson), Monday, 19 August 2013 16:11 (four years ago) Permalink

I thought 'Looking For Footprints' was an earlier track, it is descended from a song called Sleepyheads which, I'm guessing, is from Drums & Wires or earlier.

many machines on ilx (MaresNest), Monday, 19 August 2013 16:39 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm torn on this. Just last week I rediscovered Black Sea and decided it's their most consistently great album - every track is a killer. But English Settlement is both a sentimental favorite and, for reasons that a lot of people have said above, maybe their single best album - it has the journey, the high points, the kind of perfect moment of getting a bit mature and realizing that it's happening, as you hear on songs like "All of a Sudden." I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that song yet - it's a great distillation of realizing you've grown up now, this is it, this is where you are, so what's next? I love that the album doesn't have a "concept." A bunch of English boys basically think about going to Africa and never actually get there. There are no grand schemes, just small realizations. And "Senses Working Overtime" - still one of the all-time greats.

"Knuckle Down" is one of their weakest but best-placed songs. It's nothing special but you need a breather right around there, and the chorus sticks in my head for that reason. "Fly on the Wall" is the opposite - it's a great song but I always skip it.

I seem to remember Dave Gregory saying that he thought the album needed more production, a bit more to the arrangements. It is pretty stripped-down and there's room to do more, and maybe if they'd taken it farther it would have more of that patina of "greatness," but I'm glad they didn't. For one thing I just love the album as it is, and for another, every album that came after it was a bit of a loud mess in one way or another. I don't think they ever truly got the hang of using lots of instruments.

savetherobot, Monday, 19 August 2013 19:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Right on. It's frustrating, because Settlement without the filler (which is what "Melt the Guns" feels like) would easily be Black Sea's equal, or at the very least, a pastoral angle on Black Sea's rawk.

But after Black Sea, they never really rocked again. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the gripping dynamic of this particular unit of particularly agitated musicians was gone forever.

Shart Week (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 24 August 2013 01:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Everyone wins!

Mark G, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 08:34 (four years ago) Permalink

Sorry I missed this one, but I'd go with Black Sea, if only as it's a bit more clangy.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:31 (four years ago) Permalink

But after Black Sea, they never really rocked again.

I'd argue that the solo on Books Are Burning is one of the great classic rock solos, but maybe.

which can be sold for meat if they are boys.. (sorry guys) (imago), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:35 (four years ago) Permalink

But after Black Sea, they never really rocked again.

Nonsense...."No Thugs in Our House" (English Settlement), "Wake Up" (Big Express), "Across This Anthead" (Oranges & Lemons)

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:47 (four years ago) Permalink

AntHEAP

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:48 (four years ago) Permalink

I love "Wake Up," but those other two (along with everything on Oranges & Lemons) always fell flat for me.

Shart Week (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:50 (four years ago) Permalink

Really? "No Thugs.."? I love that goddamn song.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:50 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah me too tbh

which can be sold for meat if they are boys.. (sorry guys) (imago), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:54 (four years ago) Permalink

I wouldn't describe 'Across This Antheap' as "rocking", either.

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:59 (four years ago) Permalink

"Earn Enough for Us" too.

Vinnie, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 20:52 (four years ago) Permalink

Plus the Dukes, obv

Mark G, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 20:59 (four years ago) Permalink

you guys are suggesting some weird pretty non-rock-y stuff imho. I don't think Tarfumes is entirely wrong that they ditched the aesthetic of Black Sea for the most part - the slashing guitars, the stuttering rhythms, the frenetic energy, etc. they didn't really go there again. some of the stuff on Big Express maybe comes closest.

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:05 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea is the way that it is because that particular line-up of the band (Partridge/Gregory/Moulding/Chambers) had such an undeniable chemistry as a unit and were playing together a lot as a live band, so you get an energy and urgency on Black Sea that they couldn't replicate on their post-Settlement studio records, no matter how good the drummers they used on those recordings were/are. That, and Partridge seemed to want to move away from that particular approach to recording/style of music on the records starting with Settlement.

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:27 (four years ago) Permalink

yup to all that

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:30 (four years ago) Permalink

only "No Thugs" comes close to rocking out as hard - "Wake Up" feels a little more stitched and calculated than anything on Black Sea. obviously not really a knock on later XTC but they definitely lost the "live" sound pretty suddenly afterwards.

frogbs, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:47 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, definitely agree regarding 'Wake Up'... there's a rigidity in the way that the track has been recorded that contrasts with the live band feel on Black Sea. Not to knock the track, because I like it a lot, but you can definitely tell it was a studio creation rather than the result of a band playing together.

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I wouldn't describe 'Across This Antheap' as "rocking", either.

Compared to, say, anything on albums including and after Nonesuch it does.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I mean, it ain't Motorhead, but there's a bit of edge there.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:09 (four years ago) Permalink

I remember being disappointed the first time I heard Wasp Star because it seemed like they were trying to do a stripped down, live band feel again, only with some kinda stodgy, un-rocking songs.

amaze-ing platypus hat (Eight Model Play), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:11 (four years ago) Permalink

Had Dave Gregory split by that point?

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:20 (four years ago) Permalink

I pretty much abandoned ship after Nonesuch.

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:20 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I think he left when they were partway through preparing Apple Venus vol 1, he'd already done some arrangements for it, and didn't contribute at all to Wasp Star IIRC. Possibly why it sounds relatively sloppy by XTC standards.

amaze-ing platypus hat (Eight Model Play), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:22 (four years ago) Permalink

Compared to, say, anything on albums including and after Nonesuch it does.

― Alex in NYC, Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:08 PM (13 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I'd agree with that, but we're not comparing it with what came after Nonsuch!

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:24 (four years ago) Permalink

sloppy?! not really a term I associate with this band. like, ever.

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:25 (four years ago) Permalink

Well like I say relatively sloppy, by their standards. But maybe 'sloppy' isn't the right word, i don't know.

amaze-ing platypus hat (Eight Model Play), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:26 (four years ago) Permalink

Like Frogbs said, after English Settlement they didn't have that live band sound anymore, but all the albums had this lush, glossy, ultra-precise 80s production. And then Wasp Star didn't really have the live band feel or the glossy production?

amaze-ing platypus hat (Eight Model Play), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Here's what David Gregory played on Apple Venus...

Easter Theatre: mellotron, acoustic guitar, keyboard programming
Frivolous Tonight: piano, synths, Mellotron, backing vocals
Greenman: keyboard programming, synth
Your Dictionary: piano, cello charts
I Can't Own Her: piano, synths
Harvest Festival: piano
Fruit Nut: synths, acoustic & electric guitars, organ, mellotron

Partridge did quite a fair bit of 'string arranging' on Apple Venus (as can he heard on his original demos for the album).

Gregory wasn't involved in recording Wasp Star.

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Ah, I didn't realise he'd played that much on Apple Venus, I'd thought he left not long after they started recording it, and sort of already had one foot out of the door for quite a while before that. I think I remember in one of the books about the band Gregory talking about hearing 'Playground' for the first time and cringing, he didn't like the arrangement or recording and felt that the band was suffering for his absence? I think that was gist of what he said, anyway.

amaze-ing platypus hat (Eight Model Play), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:37 (four years ago) Permalink

Black Sea is the way that it is because that particular line-up of the band (Partridge/Gregory/Moulding/Chambers) had such an undeniable chemistry as a unit and were playing together a lot as a live band, so you get an energy and urgency on Black Sea that they couldn't replicate on their post-Settlement studio records, no matter how good the drummers they used on those recordings were/are. That, and Partridge seemed to want to move away from that particular approach to recording/style of music on the records starting with Settlement.

― Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, August 27, 2013 5:27 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yeah, this is pretty much what I was getting at.

And it's not that I don't like any post-Black Sea XTC, and some of my favorite XTC is their least rocking ("Grass," for one). But the agitated dynamic of those musicians in that format was gone. What replaced it was sometimes better, sometimes not.

Shart Week (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 22:47 (four years ago) Permalink

Yup, it would definitely have been interesting to see how Chambers would have handled the Apple Venus material!

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Tuesday, 27 August 2013 23:34 (four years ago) Permalink

They did crank it up a few times after Black Sea (add to the list "Funk Pop a Roll," "Reign of Blows," "Garden of Earthly Delights," "Merely a Man," "Crocodile"), but never for more than a song or two per album, and none of it has the abandon of Black Sea.

And I'm convinced that the reason Wasp Star sounds so unfinished is the absence of Dave Gregory.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:59 (four years ago) Permalink

I can appreciate the arguments ppl are making in favor on BS, but ES is just on a totally different level for me. I really like all the songs people complain about in this thread, and LOVE the rest. Something about the production really works for me, it shimmers timelessly whereas Black Sea just rocks a la 1980 wiry postpunk. IMO.

money, chicken and other DNA (sleeve), Wednesday, 28 August 2013 04:17 (four years ago) Permalink

^^this

which can be sold for meat if they are boys.. (sorry guys) (imago), Wednesday, 28 August 2013 05:49 (four years ago) Permalink

The problem with Wasp Star isn't sloppiness, it's that it sounds like a bunch of demos. For all the flak this band gets for having fussy arrangements (a charge I would agree with sometimes), going stripped down on Wasp Star really didn't do them favors. And that could be because of no Gregory, yeah.

Vinnie, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:51 (four years ago) Permalink

The problem with Wasp Star isn't sloppiness, it's that it sounds like a bunch of demos

In fact, it doesn't sound at all like the outstanding unreleased demos from Andy's "Fuzzy Warbles" series. If it had stuff like "Sonic Boom", "Ship Trapped In The Ice" and "The Bland Leading The Bland" on it, it would've been an excellent album. But it's got Andy's worst song ever, "The Man Who Murdered Love", among other very, very weak tracks. It doesn't sound like demos, it sounds like poor songwriting. (I'll rep for Colin's last good song, "Boarded Up" though.)

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:17 (four years ago) Permalink

I never checked out those demos, didn't realize there was something there worth checking out heh. I think about half of the songs on Wasp Star would have been improved with better arrangements - "In Another Life", "Stupidly Happy", "Wounded Horse". The songwriting is on the weaker side, true, but the arrangements sound like they were dashed off quick, like they went with the first idea they had rather than trying different approaches. Not a fan of "Boarded Up", but at least that's a case where the bare arrangement suits the material.

Vinnie, Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:48 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Man, I don't get the hate for "Melt the Guns" at all. I have no problem with the lyrics or their sentiment, but that aside, it's a fantastic piece of music. Very proto-Animal Collective - is that why?

flappy bird, Monday, 2 May 2016 03:19 (one year ago) Permalink

It's just that it's so damn repetitive.

Austin, Monday, 2 May 2016 03:32 (one year ago) Permalink

I like guns but it's a good piece of music.

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 2 May 2016 03:44 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't like because the chorus is dogshit

IMO it's a standard-issue issue example of overly irritating/quirky Partridge/XTC

Master of Treacle, Monday, 2 May 2016 04:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, now that I am listening to it, it's got good things going on but it has bad things going on too (like the excessive Partridge quirk). Hadn't listened to it for a while. Chorus is more neutral than negative for me though.

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 2 May 2016 04:29 (one year ago) Permalink

The opening riff/progression is weak in the first place. Allows for all the XTC cliches. That's basically the entire song.

Master of Treacle, Monday, 2 May 2016 04:31 (one year ago) Permalink

This has probably been touched on already and is nothing new but jesus, English Settlement is way too long.

I know there's sequencing issues touched on already but....a little of Andy Partridge (as good as he is at his best) goes a long way.

Master of Treacle, Monday, 2 May 2016 04:37 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

So the "Black Sea" demos on the new deluxe release are mostly uninteresting and sound more like rough mixes. The 'early version' of "Towers Of London" is a couple of minutes longer and the 'unused single remix' of "Rocket From A Bottle" sound almost the same.

The most interesting stuff is the unreleased material: Pearl, Holding The Baby, Monkeys In Human Skin Suits, Spy In Space, Walking To Work, Jumping The Gap, and Ban The Bomb. They're fun to hear though nothing as crucial as stuff found on the Fuzzy Warbles series. With the release of these there's very few tracks I know about that haven't shown up officially or online.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 03:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Pearl has always been a favourite, I enjoyed the new mix too. But yeah, I think most everything is out there now between bootlegs, the old cassette releases, fuzzy warbles and the reissues, all that remains are the 3295642015986 songs that AP has left unfinished on a hard drive in his shed.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 11:28 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm guessing that it would be such a shame if he didn't finish some of those.

Gholdfish Killah (Turrican), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Doesn't his shed have its own thread?

Action of Boyle Man Prompts Visitor to Stay (Tom D.), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:24 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Holy shit, I think this is the only live recording of "Melt the Guns" out there. Uploaded 5 months ago. Incredible set

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv9dXo9-zrA

flappy bird, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 05:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

XTC
Paradiso
Amsterdam, Netherlands
March 8, 1982

Soundboard pre-fm version

Andy Partridge was only 10 days away from his stage fright breakdown in Paris.

01. Runaways
02. Jason And The Argonauts
03. Melt The Guns
04. Snowman
05. Ball And Chain
06. No Thugs In Our House
07. Senses Working Overtime
08. All Along The Watchtower
09. No Language In Our Lungs
10. Towers Of London
11. Making Plans For Nigel
12. Living Through Another Cuba
13. Generals And Majors
14. Real By Reel
15. Sgt. Rock (Is going To Help Me)
16. Life Begins At The Hop (With Hans Devente on Backing Vocals)

Not recorded / missing are the first three songs, played that evening: Bushman President (tape); Respectable Street, Burning With Optimism's Flames.

flappy bird, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 06:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink


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