XTC Sky­lark­ing Ape House ★★★★

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

There is surely no other Bri­tish alt.pop band as jus­ti­fi­ably revered as XTC. The unit started off in the mid-’70s as an an­gu­lar propo­si­tion, but en­gaged with the 1980s with a mas­ter’s de­gree in ad­vanced pop song­writ­ing. The band de­liv­ered many bril­liant al­bums through­out the 1980s, ’90s and early noughties, but Sky­lark­ing (1986) is, ar­guably, their mas­ter­piece. It’s a semi-con­cept work about, es­sen­tially, the mun­dan­i­ties of day-to-day liv­ing, in­flu­enced by The Kinks, The Beach Boys and The Bea­tles, and metic­u­lously (if con­tro­ver­sially) over­seen by mav­er­ick US song-writer/pro­ducer Todd Rund­gren. Sky­lark­ing is pas­toral psychedelia at its most glo­ri­ous. That it would go no fur­ther than 90 in the UK al­bum charts (70 in the US) meant that XTC’s days on ma­jor la­bels were num­bered. But if there ever was an ob­scure psych-pop al­bum ripe for re­dis­cov­er­ing, Sky­lark­ing is it. ape.uk.net Down­load: 1,000 Um­brel­las, Dear God, Bal­let for a Rainy Day

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