Monday, June 20, 2016

XTC’s trio of albums in the late 80s and early 90s (Skylarking, 1986, Oranges & Lemons, 1989, and Nonsuch, 1992) could be considered a trilogy with each LP building on the images and themes of the previous album. Collectively, they evoke a tapestry of Christian and pagan imagery, folk tales from pre-modern England, and the mythology of ancient Greece, in contrast to dreary depictions of post-industrial England and a war weary world. Nonsuch, is a rhapsodic call of awakening into the colorful dreamscape of animism and poetic resonances that underlie our dismal modern "real world" existence, as exemplified by Andy Partridge's call to "awaken you dreamers" from the state of the "loveless ones" who dwell in a "world wrapped in grey." Who are the "loveless ones?" Questions like this are the task of England's Romantic poets or America's transcendental philosophers. XTC impel us to look beyond the confining strictures of the material world by employing the vast powers of the collective lyrical imagination through literature and music. Yeah, that. This is smart music for smart people. Nonsuch, the title derived from a couplet on Oranges & Lemons (whose title comes from Skylarking) ("I'm skating over thin ice/ While some nonesuch net holds me aloft)," is an AM7. (And indeed, the preceding sentence is grammatically correct.)