||From the Vault...
© Geffen Records
Year of Release: 1992
The Ballad of
My Bird Performs
Dear Madam Barnum
The Smartest Monkeys
Holly Up On Poppy
Then She Appeared
Wrapped In Grey
The Ugly Underneath
Books Are Burning
XTC related sites:
XTC: short for Ecstasy...
Chicago radio station WXRT has always
featured the band XTC, and just recently, the group's original albums were
given the green light for reissue on CD. In hearing their Best-Of compilation,
Upsy Daisy Assortment, it's quite obvious that their music is very
interesting to listen to; and as many Best-Of/Greatest Hits compilations are,
it's arguable that many songs that were released on original albums do not
get the Best-Of treatment. Therefore, it's best to listen to the original
albums as a whole, and determine the fact that XTC's music is best to listen
to, from start to finish, as they happened on each release.
Surpringly, only two songs from Nonsuch made Upsy Daisy
Assortment, and its arguable on how other tunes didn't make the Best-Of.
"The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkin" (quite obvious on this one being recognized
as Best-Of material; it's poppish sound definitely has the Beatles influence,
especially on Paul McCartney's behalf.) "The Disappointed" is the other
Best-Of track, and its another good tune for that, being very poppish in
sound, and an easy head-bopping, enjoyable (not disappointing) song.
"Dear Madam Barnum" is a great tune, and why it didn't make the
best-of is beyond me.
"My Bird Performs" is just ok, where "Humble Daisy" is a nice
pleasant tune, and again, it could be seen as a McCartney-inspired track.
The bass line stands out on "The Hardest Monkeys", a song that has an
almost Elvis Costello meets pop, more than new wave, when Costello first
started out his career. "Holly Up On Poppy" is another pop number;
not as energetic as other tunes, and "Crocodile" is interesting, and
could be a possible contender on a Best-Of and/or multiple CD Anthology.
"Rook" is another great potential; definitely Paul McCartney-inspired,
from such tunes in the later years of The Beatles -- White Album, maybe
even Sgt. Pepper.
"Omnibus" maybe the only least listened-to song on this release,
likewise "The Wave." Returning to standard pop is "Then She Appeared",
a song, again, that is fair, yet enjoyable. More enjoyable is "War Dance,"
having a sound compared to Duran Duran; definitely pop rock.
1970s pop (McCartney and The Raspberries) best describes the ballad
"Wrapped In Grey." (Almost) New Wave, Pop Rock (obvious) describes
"The Ugly Underneath." Pure ballad pop best describes "Bungalow".
Medium-tempo McCartney pop has the closing number, "Books Are Burning."
It's easy to see the influence of the later years of The Beatles
on Nonsuch. Other influences are heard also, such as the likes
as Paul McCartney/Wings, Elvis Costello, Duran Duran, and The Kinks.
Getting a "Best-Of" XTC is not enough; it's best to get their original
albums, and enjoy the many songs this band from England has to offer.
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