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