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Skylarking (Remaster)
     

Skylarking (Remaster)

4.0 9
by XTC
 

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After recording some of the loopiest new wave of the late '70s, XTC stopped touring and went into a studio seclusion that produced a series of difficult, thorny albums. So it came as quite a shock in 1987 when the group released one of the prettiest pop records ever, the Todd Rundgren-produced Skylarking. A pop operetta to rival See more details below

Overview

After recording some of the loopiest new wave of the late '70s, XTC stopped touring and went into a studio seclusion that produced a series of difficult, thorny albums. So it came as quite a shock in 1987 when the group released one of the prettiest pop records ever, the Todd Rundgren-produced Skylarking. A pop operetta to rival Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pet Sounds, Skylarking begins with the sounds of young love in June and ends, decades later, with an aged lover crying over the ashes of his deceased partner. In between are whimsical pop-song evocations of the seasons that serve as a metaphor for the marriage the album (loosely) chronicles. While the dark tale of doubt, "Dear God," would be an MTV hit, the record is unsinkably bright, and songs like "Grass," "Season Cycle," and "Earn Enough for Us," open up a virtual Crayola box of sonic hues. Rundgren's brilliant segues and orchestrations place a surrealistic pillow beneath the powerful melodies of songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, making Skylarking an island of beauty in an age of cynicism, and a bona fide classic.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Working with producer Todd Rundgren didn't necessarily bring XTC a sense of sonic cohesion -- after all, every record since English Settlement followed its own interior logic -- but it did help the group sharpen their focus, making Skylarking their tightest record since Drums & Wires. Ironically, Skylarking had little to do with new wave and everything to do with the lush, post-psychedelic pop of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Combining the charming pastoral feel of Mummer with the classicist English pop of The Big Express, XTC expands their signature sound by enhancing their intelligently melodic pop with graceful, lyrical arrangements and sweeping, detailed instrumentation. Rundgren may have devised the sequencing, helping the record feel like a song cycle even if it doesn't play like one, but what really impresses is the consistency and depth of Andy Partridge's and Colin Moulding's songs. Each song is a small gem, marrying sweet, catchy melodies to decidedly adult lyrical themes, from celebrations of love ("Grass") and marriage ("Big Day") to skepticism about maturation ("Earn Enough for Us") and religion ("Dear God"). Moulding's songs complement Partridge's songs better than before, and each writer is at a melodic and lyrical peak, which Rundgren helps convey with his supple production. The result is a pop masterpiece -- an album that has great ambitions and fulfills them with ease. [The initial release of Skylarking didn't feature "Dear God," which was originally the B-side of "Grass." After "Dear God" became an unexpected hit, "Mermaid Smile" was pulled from the album so the hit single could be added to the record. Meanwhile, the U.K. release didn't cut "Mermaid Smile," instead just pasting "Dear God" to the end of the album. Skylarking was also released with a bonus track, "Dear God."]

Product Details

Release Date:
05/14/2002
Label:
Caroline
UPC:
0724385069024
catalogNumber:
50690

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

XTC   Primary Artist
Andy Partridge   Guitar,Vocals
David Gregory   Synthesizer,Guitar,Piano,Vocals,chamberlain
Colin Moulding   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Beech Avenue Boys   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Todd Rundgren   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Concept,Orchestral Arrangements,Continuity
Andy Partridge   Composer
David Gregory   Contributor,String Arrangements
Colin Moulding   Composer,Contributor
Prairie Prince   Contributor
Prarie Prince   Contributor
Cindy Palmano   Sleeve Photo
David Dragon   Illustrations,Drawing

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