Great As­pi­ra­tions TC&I/PLEDGE Vinyl reis­sue for the 2017 EP by XTC’s Colin Mould­ing and Terry Cham­bers.

Prog - - The Musical Box - GRM

For those of us who grew up ador­ing XTC’s unique, side­ways slant on mu­sic, hear­ing Colin Mould­ing again is quite the Prous­tian rush. The bassist/singer/ song­writer was a vi­tal part of the band’s sound, and though he fell into a post­band-col­lapse slough in the noughties, the four new songs on this EP prove the now-63-year-old can still weave his brand of magic. The TC to his I is XTC’s for­mer drum­mer, Terry Cham­bers, whose pres­ence only adds to the sense of pedi­gree and chem­istry here. Scat­ter Me is a charm­ingly whim­si­cal and brightly ele­giac pop tune, its verses re­mind­ing what an im­por­tant part of XTC’s charm Mould­ing’s phras­ing was. Churchill, Spiel­berg and Mc­Cart­ney are cited on the pleas­ant Great­ness (The As­pi­ra­tion Song), while Com­rades In Pop is a bit­ter, know­ing look at how money and lawyers can de­stroy bands. The real jewel here, though, is Kenny. Its oblique, catchy gui­tar riff is the kind Mould­ing and XTC com­rade Andy Par­tridge spe­cialised in; its lyrics hark­ing back to in­no­cent English days of al­lot­ment plots, fall­ing conkers, tad­poles in jam jars. This is pop, yeah yeah, packed with char­ac­ter, mean­ing and nos­tal­gia, and wear­ing its bril­liance lightly.

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