Perfect debut albums - XTC

Posted by Bo Ellegaard on July 18, 2017 0 Comments
In my seemingly never ending series of perfect debut albums I'll ask of you, dear readers out there, to indulge me when I announce the album in question this time around, namely XTC's 1979 album "Drums And Wires" (Virgin Records V 2129). 
And yes, I'm fully aware that this is their third album but in order to justify my choice I'll call it "Dave Gregory's debut XTC- album". 

First things first. After two albums- "White Music" and "Go2"- with quirky melodies and clever lyrics keyboard player Barry Andrews left XTC (ie singer/guitarist Andy Partridge, singer/bass player Colin Moulding and drummer Terry Chambers) for Robert Fripp's League Of Gentlemen and also Shriekback. Barry Andrews' often wild organ sounds were an important part of XTC's sound so what now? Looking for replacement they asked Andy Partridge's friend also from XTC's hometown Swindon Dave Gregory- a guitarist who in fact could also play keyboards- to join the band. Being an accomplished musician he apparently got the two songwriters in the band (Partridge and Moulding) to write a more guitar oriented poppy "new wave" but luckily not only that they also kept the quirkiness when appropriate! The first half of 1979 saw XTC rehearsing with both new guitarist and new material and teaming up with hot shot producer/engineer duo Steve Lillywhite/Hugh Padgham (Early U2, Police, Peter Gabriel) their third and next album was anticipated with excitement! After all please remember that XTC were originally booked for a John Peel session even before the crucial record deal- with Virgin Records as it happened.

Blog By PGP.

In August 1979 "Drums And Wires" materialised. I can in fact remember the Danish release as I ran a small record shop here in Odense, Denmark. I recall the colourful cover and with the initial British issue containing the 7" bonus single: "Chain Of Command/Limelight". An insert with lyrics to all the three albums up till now was also included. But mostly I recall the excellent songs both melodic and with meaningful lyrics as well. Listening to the album today it still sounds as fresh as at the release. Try "Making Plans For Nigel", "Helicopter", "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty" or my personal favourite "Ten Feet Tall"!! Messrs. Partridge and Moulding were surely honing their craft as tunesmiths and the best was yet to come- after all this was just the first Dave Gregory/XTC-album, right?!!

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