White Music by XTC

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White Music by XTC
White Music by XTC

Album Released: 1978

White Music ::: Artwork

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1.Radios In Motion2:53
2.Cross Wires2:06
3.This Is Pop?2:42
4.Do What You Do1:16
5.Statue Of Liberty2:55
6.All Along The Watchtower5:43
7.Into The Atom Age2:33
8.I'll Set Myself On Fire3:02
9.I'm Bugged3:58
10.New Town Animal In A Furnished Cage1:53
11.Spinning Top2:41
12.Neon Shuffle4:27

Reviews

Despite its quirkiness, White Music might well be the XTC album most representative of the (punk) era it was released. Although XTC would evolve into something of a classic pop band, in the late 1970’s they basically sounded like any other pop-punk band with a wicked edge.

That was near-normal at the time - Squeeze released their weirdest and most angular album the same year; Adam Ant delivered his debut the following year; Devo let their cerebral/jerky take on pop loose on the masses. Devo were probably the most successful band on an artistic level as well, because I’ve never met an XTC fan who thinks their debut is essential.

White Music does contain some good singles, and a few decent album tracks, but just like U.K. Squeeze it suffers from occasionally sloppy songwriting and silliness. The good thing is that the band already betray a musical prowess quite surprising for a debut (though of course they’d been around for some years).

Some of these songs even seem to hint at later accomplishments by Gang of Four, thanks to their off-kilter angularity, jerky rhythms, and unusual vocals, while the ridiculous-sounding keyboards of Barry Andrews often adds an extra dimension of idiocy.

Whereas both Partridge and Moulding would become first-class songwriters, this album’s dominated by Partridge. The frenetic album opener “Radios in Motion” immediately opens on a high note with a thudding bassline and Partridge’s effective accentuated singing.

Other highlights include the infectious single “This Is Pop”, while the clean-produced “Statue of Liberty” would've fit in nicely on Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp!. And more decent Partridge tracks come by way of the singalong “Into the Atom Age”, complete with demented keyboards and lyrics, and the proto-Minutemen funk of “Neon Shuffle” (which allegedly dates back to 1973, when the band were still called The Helium Kidz).

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by Reviewer: Guy Peters (blogging at Guy's Music Review Site)


XTC have been called the 'Great Lost Pop Band', and with good reason. For nearly 40 years, they’ve churned out infectious pop songs in vast numbers, yet they’ve barely scraped the lower reaches of the charts.

It’s not hard to see why. Andy Partridge’s signature wounded yelp wouldn’t exactly fit in with MTV, nor does the band's appeal extend to schoolgirls. So although they’ve always been critically acclaimed, they’ve never been trendy enough to catch a true hype wave.

The band sealed its fate as a cult act by refusing to tour subsequent to Partridge's wife forcing him to stop taking valium, so he ended up having a couple of breakdowns on stage in 1982. Since then, XTC has been strictly a studio entity, give or take the odd radio or TV appearance.

There seem to be two schools of thought about XTC. One is that they're distant, too-clever, even soulless and insincere. That I think is borne of Partridge’s vocal style - the man just doesn’t have a great set of lungs, and he often tries to hide it with a weird goofy delivery that, combined with his wordy lyrics, alienates a lot of people.

The other school of thought is of course naturally inclined to be sympathetic towards geekiness, and this is where I count myself a member. With XTC, maybe you just have to be a geek to 'get it'. But where earlier nerds Gentle Giant often seem to be writing solely out of intellectual curiosity, with the lyrics as an afterthought, Partridge puts real heart and soul into his music.

The nice thing about being an XTC fan is they’ve released a lot of albums, and they’re all good. So you can get lost in their catalogue for a while (an activity I highly recommend). If it wasn’t for XTC, I may never have started caring enough about music to write reviews in the first place.

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by Reviewer: S M Hellebore


Pretty much written off by Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, not to mention most XTC fans, White Music is a portrait of XTC's often-overlooked early period.

Keyboardist Barry Andrews is the antithesis of future member Dave Gregory - his unpredictable spastic playing style fit in well with Partridge's equally spastic guitar playing and Terry Chambers' unpredictable drumming.

Even at this early point, Partridge is displaying his songwriting chops ... album opener "Radios in Motion" is a great almost-anthemic number, and "Statue of Liberty" and "This Is Pop?" both display an ear for pop hooks.

Other songs also display great critical clichés, though a couple near the end are of the questionable variety - "Spinning Top" / "New Town Animal in a Furnished Cage" - and the cover of "All Along the Watchtower" blows.

For the most part though, Partridge has got it together.

Moulding on the other hand, has not. "Cross Wires" is a fun frenetic foray, but "Do What You Do" is one minute of total nonsense, and "I'll Set Myself on Fire" is only useful for its neat match intro.

I'd like to say this is a good album. I'd like to say that, but this album sucks! Whether you'd like it or not depends on your tolerance for herky-jerky New Wave music.

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by Reviewer: Cole Reviews