Thursday, October 27, 2011


Twenty five years ago, XTC reached the zenith of their creative powers with this lush and pastoral pop masterpiece. They recorded the album with Todd Rundgren at his Utopia Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY. It was Rundgren who convinced the band to make it into a concept album with the songs cycling through seasonal change as a metaphor for the stages of life. Partridge describes his tense working relationship with the producer: "He was so bloody sarcastic, which is rare with Americans. He's got it down to an extremely cruel art. He'd ask how you were going to do the vocals and you would stand in front of the mic and do one run through to clear your throat and he'd say, 'That was crap. I'll come down and I'll record me singing it and you can have me in your headphones to sing along to.' I just thought it was so insulting....He did do great things musically. The arrangements were brilliant and I don't know how he came up with them... The bloke is ludicrously smart when it comes to certain things." Named after Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem 'To a Skylark', 'Skylarking' peaked at number seventy in the UK and number forty four in the US.

'The Meeting Place'

'Summer's Cauldron / Grass'

'Earn Enough For Us'

'Mermaid Smiled' was replaced by 'Dear God' on later pressings.

full album

All songs written and composed by Andy Partridge, except where noted.

Side one
1. "Summer's Cauldron"   3:19
2. "Grass"   Colin Moulding 3:05
3. "The Meeting Place"   Moulding 3:14
4. "That's Really Super, Supergirl"   3:21
5. "Ballet for a Rainy Day"   2:50
6. "1000 Umbrellas"   3:44
7. "Season Cycle"   3:21
Side two
1. "Earn Enough for Us"   2:54
2. "Big Day"   Moulding 3:32
3. "Another Satellite"   4:15
4. "Mermaid Smiled"   2:26
5. "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul"   3:24
6. "Dying"   Moulding 2:31
7. "Sacrificial Bonfire"   Moulding 3:49

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