Skylarking – XTC

Silent film of melting miracle play
I am doing something here that runs counter to the natural order of things. I am listening to Skylarking in November. Everyone knows in order to feel the full vibe of this album you should only listen to it between the months of May and August (including bank holidays). But, I need a bit of summer today in freezing Dublin. Everything about this album is just perfect, and every track is perfect, even the running order is perfect. You will have to excuse this next confession. I once spent a very nice summers day (while my wife and daughter were at the beach) in front of my computer re-arranging the tracks of Skylarking to try and find an alternative running order, 6 hours later I conceded that the original order was the best one.
I need to call out one track though, 1000 Umbrellas, it sounded particularly wonderful tonight, and kept the Dublin wind from my bones.
Hidden gem: All of them, no seriously.
Micro review: Pastoral Psychedelia from Swindon
Addendum: I like Dear God as much as the next geeky, obsessive, compulsive, track re-ordering fan, but it doesn’t belong on this album.

English Settlement – XTC

I can’t believe I haven’t got round to XTC yet, something by these guys will generally grace the headphones/speakers at least once a month. I am doing something very 21st century at the moment I am listening to this on an ipod and perusing the vinyl sleeve and inner sleeves. I miss big sleeves and inner sleeves, damn you Fraunhofer. The 80s were a golden age for album packaging (the decade of the picture disc) and this one is beautiful with its parchment like inner sleeves.
XTC were from Swindon, a mecca for churning out talent, just look Dean Ashton, Diana Dors, Gilbert O’ Sullivan and Melinda Messenger, need I mention more? The old side 1 of the first disc is a gem, and the last two tracks Senses Working Overtime and Jason and the Argonauts are fantastic. I still get that wonderful warm glow inside when I hear Senses Working Overtime, everytime without fail. My favourite track though is All of a Sudden (It’s Too Late). I never really got the lyrics when I was a kid, but now in later life it is like looking in the mirror.
Hidden gem; Yacht Dance