The 90s dawned on us and the demand for idiosyncratic, guitar-led music was at it an all-time low since rock’n’roll had been ‘invented’ It was no real surprise that XTC battoned-down the hatches a bit and waited till February 1992 before emerging, blinking, into the daylight.

mp3 : XTC – The Disappointed

It’s unmistakably Andy Partridge on lead vocal and it’s a clever enough lyric, but the tune is a huge let down. Dull to the point of being a Tears For Fears mid-80s reject. But it did have its fans, reaching #33 in the UK singles charts and paving the way for the parent album Nonsuch to go Top 30 on its release a few months later.

The b-side of the 7″ was a Colin Moulding effort:-

mp3 : XTC – The Smartest Monkeys

I’ll hold my hands up and say that my first exposure to this was very recently as I had to go and find a lot of b-sides to complete the series.  If I had owned a copy of Nonsuch, I’d have been familar with it as it would later appear on the album.  I think it’s way superior to the a-side , but I’m afraid that’s damning it with faint praise as it’s not a patch on so much of the 70s and 80s output. They are both songs that would, I reckon, have had a live audience shuffling around the venue with boredom while waiting with anticipating for something more typical….so just as well then that the band didn’t tour!

The single also came out on 10″ format and on CD; it’s the latter I grabbed off Discogs a while back and here’s the other tracks:-

mp3 : XTC – Humble Daisy
mp3 : XTC – The Smartest Monkeys (demo)

Humble Daisy would also be on Nonsuch, and compared to the plethora a of otherwise unavailable b-sides in years gone by, this is also something of a letdown.

Nobody knew back then that this would be the final time XTC would ever have a hit single in the UK.


7 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 28)

  1. Thanks, I’m enjoying the series. Aside from Drums and Wires lp, I bought 2 of their singles. This one, and Wait Til Your Boat Goes Down. One man’s favourites are another’s less-so!

  2. FORW!!! You took the words right out of my mouth (sorry for the Meat Loaf quote)!!
    I wonder if there is some inside joke/irony written into the song’s title. I wouldn’t put it past either Andy or Colin.
    Nonesuch is XTC’s least successful album, artistically. Wherever that album seems to veer toward classic XTC territory, it seems like someone chimed in and said “do you think that’s a good idea?”
    I’ve always felt like this was an album that was required to satisfy contracts with Virgin and Geffen Records. There are some interesting ideas that might have benefited from more time and thought.

  3. Normally I would have been super excited about a new XTC album. But, during the 3 years between the excellent Oranges and Lemons and the release of Nonsuch I met my wife, left NYC and moved to California, got married and bought a house. The album actually came out during my honeymoon. We returned from that trip during the Rodney King verdict riots. Meanwhile, music had completely changed again. The biggest bands in LA were Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt and Jane’s Addiction. They would all soon be swallowed by grunge. So Nonsuch kind of passed me by. When I got around to listening to it I was…Disappointed.

  4. Ooooh. I bought this on CD5 when it was released and quickly bought “Nonesuch” to almost never play it for the entire time it has sat in my Record Cell. Lots of dull, uninteresting songwriting, performances, and arrangements. This one put XTC in the “lost it” column for me. By the time that Andy Partridge ended his annoying “strike” against Virgin records, I could have cared less. To this day I never heard “Apple Venus” though I did by a cheap used copy of “Wasp Star,” which was okay. Then Andy’s predilection for releasing whole albums in demo form passed me by completely. Then boxed sets of demos! Then even more demos!!!


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