XTC were always a great singles band, and they prove it with this little cocktail. There’s an expanded version called Fossil Fuel
, which comes with a second disc covering 1983-1992, but Waxworks
is the one I own.
The real reason most people are probably going to buy this is for “Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down”, a non-LP single that Virgin kindly declined to include anywhere else. Unfortunately, it’s obscure for a reason - apparently Partridge was quite in love with it at the time, but he later admitted that the lethargic take reproduced here never quite lived up to the picture he had in his head. It does pick up steam momentarily in the middle, but it’s still very noticeably outclassed by the surrounding awesomeness.
As for the other songs, they’re all available on the original albums. However, several of them are slightly edited here, for reasons which remain unclear. The one song which appears in a completely alternate version is “This Is Pop”, and it actually improves on the original - it’s bigger, tighter, funkier, and certainly the definitive take of the song. So, for people who don’t want to splurge on the Coat of Many Cupboards
boxset, you can always find that here.
So is this thing worth it? Well, probably not, unless you’re a completist or you want a quick gift to convert your New Wave-hating friend. Whatever, it sure has some great music.Rated:
by Reviewer: S M Hellebore