I hummed and hawed about who to follow-up The Undertones with. Your offered suggestions of Joy Division/New Order, Big Dynamite, REM and The Cure were all very tempting but I felt would take forever to do…and when I had a look at the James singles a while back I did get a wee bit bored towards the end and I’d hate for that to happen again. But it may well be that I’ll have a look at all of said suggestions in due course.
So, as you’ll see, I’ve plumped for XTC. I have a number of their 45s in the collection as well as a pristine vinyl copy of a Singles/B-side compilation from the early 80s that offered some that I didn’t have. I’ve also been on to Discogs to fill in a few gaps.
One of the things that most attracted me to featuring XTC is that some of the 45s were non-album tracks or were different versions of songs on parent LPs along with the fact that a lot of the b-sides are quality offerings. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.
The debut EP appeared in 1977. Think about that. Fully 40 years ago. Hell, I feel ancient.
Two of the tracks had initially appeared as a 7″ single on Virgin Records but the decision was taken to withdraw it not long after it went into the shops and instead issue them along with a further track on a 12″ EP. Anyone who has the original single is sitting on a fairly rare and therefore valuable piece of vinyl.
The EP, like so many of the early recordings, didn’t ignite with the record buying public and failed to trouble the charts. It’s hard to see why lead track Science Friction was a flop as it’s a fantastic early example of what we would come to file under ‘New Wave’ – it bounces along at a frantic pace with a catchy tune and lyric. It was far from being a punk song but it had all the energy, enthusiasm, freshness and DIY-sounding values of the movement that had made it connect with so many:-
mp3 : XTC – Science Friction
The two other songs are hugely enjoyable if not quite as immediate:-
mp3 : XTC – She’s So Square
mp3 : XTC – Dance Band
The former has a tune that is reminiscent of early Squeeze while the latter, with its bass intro and weird keyboards always brings to mind a more pop-orientated version of The Stranglers. What all three songs did tell was that XTC sounded as if they could be great fun to listen to and keep an eye on.
All three versions are lifted from the Waxworks/Beeswax compilation LPs.
This, however, was lifted from elsewhere. It’s a secret track on the 3D EP. It’s not listed on the sleeve nor the label
mp3 : XTC – Goodnight Sucker
It’s less than ten seconds in length. The creepy whisper is provided by Terry Chambers.