ICE #218 - may '05

contents •
daily news flash
weekday may 4, 2005

Returning to things musical. . .

Major commercial success eluded them, but XTC shall likely remain a flag-bearer for literate Brit-rock for the foreseeable future. If the hit singles didn't really piled up, the cover versions of such clever, irresistibly tuneful titles as "Making Plans for Nigel" have — and the accolades from a diverse bevy of XTC supporters (Blur, Trent Reznor, Franz Ferdinand, Sarah McLachlan).

For diehard fans and those curious as to what might inspire so many fellow travelers to feel the love, there's The Compact XTC: The Singles 1975-83, just out from Caroline. Eighteen sides from Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding and company tell it like it was, pulling from six of the group's LPs. The band's first charting single, "Life Begins at the Hop" (from 1979's comparatively well-received Drums and Wires), is here, as are the late entries "Wake Up," "All You Pretty Girls" and "This World Over," all from 1984's The Big Express.

Minor carp: no tracks from either of XTC's acid-addled side project the Dukes of the Stratosphear, one of the first (and most artistically successful) nouveau-psychedelic "bands." (Worth searching out: the Dukes' 25 O'clock and Psonic Psunspot.)

The complete tunestack for The Compact XTC:

  • "Science Friction"
  • "Statue of Liberty"
  • "This Is Pop"
  • "Are You Receiving Me"
  • "Life Begins at the Hop"
  • "Making Plans for Nigel"
  • "Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down"
  • "Generals and Majors"
  • "Towers of London"
  • "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)"
  • "Senses Working Overtime"
  • "Ball and Chain"
  • "Great Fire"
  • "Wonderland"
  • "Love on a Farmboy's Wages"
  • "All You Pretty Girls"
  • "This World Over"
  • "Wake Up"

--Gene Sculatti, Managing Editor

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