For a band that had suffered a series of hard-to-justify flops, the title and cover of the fourth XTC single is just genius.
XTC were ridiculously prolific in 1978, recording and releasing the album Go2 a mere six months after the debut. The album quickly became noted for the distinctive and unusual sleeve which consisted of a lengthy and witty essay printed in white text against a very black background. You get the gist from the opening few sentences:-
This is a RECORD COVER. This writing is the DESIGN upon the record cover. The DESIGN is to help SELL the record. We hope to draw your attention to it and encourage you to pick it up. When you have done that maybe you’ll be persuaded to listen to the music – in this case XTC’s Go 2 album. Then we want you to BUY it. The idea being that the more of you that buy this record the more money Virgin Records, the manager Ian Reid and XTC themselves will make. To the aforementioned this is known as PLEASURE.
The press release to accompany the album was designed in a similar style to the cover. The opening few sentences are superb:-
This is a record company biography which, unlike a real biography, tells you only what is convenient for you to know. Its style and appearance, which will be applauded by some as iconoclastic and dismissed by others as pretentious, corresponds closely to that on the cover of XTC’s new album ‘Go 2’. Its function is to provide information about the group for the recipient, usually a journalist, to employ when writing about them. Often, a biography exceeds that function by expressing carefully programmed opinions in persuasively vacuous biz-speak. This provides the company representative with some vague sense of purpose and the journalist with an opportunity to paraphrase the results without recourse to such tiresome activities as thought, the eventual intention being that the public should view the band exactly as wished by their record company.
It ends with the information that the 13 new songs on Go2 will be followed by an additional two songs as a single, before helpfully stating:-
Adjectives employed most frequently when describing XTC are ‘attractive’, ‘energetic’, ‘unique’, ‘bizarre’, ‘addictive’, ‘intelligent’, and ‘inventive’.
So here we go with the attractive, energetic, unique, bizarre, addictive, intelligent and inventive tale of unrequited love that was the 4th single, along with its b-side:-
mp3 : XTC – Are You Receiving Me?
mp3 : XTC – Instant Tunes
It flopped….but it did get decent reviews!