Sunday, October 29, 2006

Number 749 - XTc

Number 749


"Generals & Majors"

Genre:New Wave
Legendary BrIt band XTC once again enter "The Definitive 1000 Songs Of All Time" with their quirky number "Generals & Majors" from 1980.
"XTC continue on with the big drum sound of Drums and Wires, adding more polish and an even heavier-hitting approach for Black Sea -- their arrangements are fuller and they rock harder than ever before. Where Drums and Wires implied social commentary, Black Sea more directly addresses sociopolitical concerns, handling them not strictly in a theoretical sense, but rather showing a human response to the circumstances. Of course, the band's skewed outlook and mid-'60s pop sense keeps things from becoming too heavy -- included are some of their finest songs, like "Respectable Street," "Generals and Majors," and "Towers of London," as well as the thoroughly enjoyable pop fluff throwaway "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" to keep the mood light. All in all, there isn't a bad song in the bunch -- Black Sea is their most consistent album to date -- and although XTC always operated on the fringes, the album is their most commercial-sounding, fitting in perfectly with the new wave of the late '70s/early '80s. [The 1987 CD reissue adds three tracks -- "Smokeless Zone," "Don't Lose Your Temper," and "The Somnambulist" -- to the middle of the album. And while the extras are welcomed (especially "Don't Lose Your Temper"), they really should have been tacked on to the end rather than disrupting the original. "~ Chris Woodstra

Here's what one fan write about XTC on his website.....

"In my view, XTC is the greatest rock band of the 1980s. But if you're not careful about digging into their catalogue you may be disappointed, because they've got two faces - there's not just the hard-hitting late 70s/early 80s New Wave XTC, but also the late 80s studio-bound, 60s-retro, pop-happy XTC (Skylarking, Oranges & Lemons, etc.). Neither formulation ever scored a major American hit, unlike nominal US counterparts the Talking Heads. But XTC has built a substantial hardcore fan following anyway, and also unlike the Talking Heads, they've never really lost their edge: they've consistently delivered quality recordings that show increasing sophistication and maturity instead of burnout and boredom. "

"They don't have a jaw-dropping instrumental virtuoso, but neither do most rock bands, and the three main players are all top-notch musicians - Colin Moulding's bass parts are frequently startling. And XTC easily makes up for any lack of chops with consistency, inventiveness, disregard for passing fads, and almost unerring pop instincts. Guitarist Andy Partridge, who writes about 2/3 of the tunes, delivers clever and engaging lyrics with genuine poetic merit; and the remaining material, written by Moulding, is always solid. Multi-instrumentalist Dave Gregory never drew too much attention to himself, but he's good, and it's a shame he recently left the group during their first serious recording sessions in a half-decade. In any case, despite XTC's lack of major commercial success you've got to grant that they at least rate with Elvis Costello, the Jam, the Police, and U2 among the most enduring and important European New Wave rock acts. " ~
For Elvis Costello see Number 876
For The Jam see Numbers 859 & Number 670
For U2 see Number 661
For Talking Heads see Number 533
Well said J.A! nicely written. Lets see what the "Old arch foe" say shall we?

What Rolling Stone Mag think about XTC?
"In the four years since XTC began, the band's youthfully aggressive, revved-up white-noisy style has settled like dust around an industrious sculptor, leaving a finished product that combines streamlined originality with -type buoyancy. The typical XTC sound fuses Andy Partridge's and Dave Gregory's spasmodically vertical guitar lines, Terry Chambers' alert and unpredictable drumming and an overlay of pure-pop boy-group harmonies led by bassist Colin Moulding's British-modern theatrical tenor. In the past, these elements have come together most winningly in sporadic singles: "This Is Pop," "Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go)," "Life Begins at the Hop," "Making Plans for Nigel."
On Black Sea, the material is especially good, from the Kinks-style "Respectable Street" to the jarring, almost frightening rock-dub tune, "Living through Another Cuba," to the jubilant "Burning with Optimism's Flames." Only the overextended "Travels in Nihilon" strays from the intersection of punk and pop where XTC are most at home. (RS 336)
For Beatles see Number 947, 894 & 587
{Gosh, they even use the word "Beatles" in the same breath. Then how come they only gave it 3 stars huh?}
Crowbarreds choice for Website to find more on XTC ... Click on the address
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at (Sorry, we thought it was a drug) and the album ranked at (Shit!, what did we take then?)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 66.4 out of 108 pts
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z
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