Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Mini Review: XTC - Drums and Wires (1979)

For a band who never really seemed to work well to the British public’s taste - perhaps more famous (or even infamous) for their 1986 pro-atheism assault "Dear God" than anything - XTC managed to create for themselves a niche for their dedicated fanbase. They were also a transitional band, and as a result  outlived many of their post-punk peers. Drums and Wires was their third album, released in 1979, and captures them between the Talking Heads meets Gang of Four vibes of their first two albums and the melodic pop they eventually perfected on their Todd Rundgren-produced 1986 opus Skylarking. Although guitarist Andy Partridge remains as the figurehead and main creative output for the band it is actually the singles written by bassist Colin Moulding that are the true gems here, not least of which the band’s first hit "Making Plans For Nigel". A large part of the angular, Captain Beefheart-inspired guitar lines can be credited to the addition of a second guitarist, Dave Gregory, who initially was a replacement for keyboardist Barry Andrews. There’s a few misses amongst the string of inventive tunes, and it’s definitely not an album for everyone, but if you admire any of the artists already mentioned, who knows?

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