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Drums & Wires

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Drums and Wires (liner notes). XTC. Ape House. 2014. {{ cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) ( link) Drums and Wires (US edition) (liner notes). XTC. Virgin Records. 1979. {{ cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) ( link)

That was where Moulding came in; the bassist evened out some of Partridge’s more esoteric impulses, creating that balance between batty and boppy that defines XTC. The result is a record that boasts both poppy tunes (Moulding’s “Life Begins at the Hop,” which made it to Top of the Pops) and the very Beefheartian “Roads Girdle the Globe,” Partridge’s hymn to the religiosity of car enthusiasts. a b Manno, Lizzie (13 February 2019). "21. XTC, Drums and Wires". Paste . Retrieved 30 August 2019. Coinciding with Gregory's arrival, in April 1979, the band recorded " Life Begins at the Hop", written by bassist Colin Moulding, and their first record with Lillywhite producing. [9] After the band went on tour for the single, sessions for Drums and Wires resumed from 25 June to July. [10] By this time, Moulding "wanted to ditch [our] quirky nonsense and do more straight-ahead pop." [1] He said that when Andrews was in the band, Partridge had "no kind of foil" to work with, as he "used to like the real kind of angular, spiky, upward-thrusting guitar ... if one is angular, the other has to kind of straighten him out, you know? It was just going too far the other way, I felt. So when Dave came in, and was a much straighter player, it seemed to make more sense, I think." [11] Partridge opined that, before then, Moulding's songs "came out as weird imitations of what I was doing, 'cause he thought that was the thing to do. ... On Go 2 he was sort of getting his own style, and by Drums and Wires he really started to take off as a songwriter." [2] Gregory remembered that XTC's songs "inspired a different approach to listening and playing from that which I'd grown up with. I simply couldn't continue grinding out old blues clichés and power chords, so I began to think more in terms of the songs as the masters and the instruments as the servants." [12] The album was recorded in three weeks and mixed in two. [10]

I want to cleanse my brain,” he says. “I’ve been doing ordinary things like going to the shops. I purposely didn’t really want to do any music for a while because I wanted to recharge the batteries totally. To come in fresh. It’s like having tennis elbow: the only remedy for it is to take a break.” Making Plans for Nigel” is a prime example of Moulding’s songwriting; the second song on Drums and Wires, “Helicopter,” is pure Partridge. While “Nigel” opens with the booming live drums made famous by Townhouse Recording Studio’s stone room (best known for birthing Phil Collin’s signature sound), “Helicopter” zips in on electric-sounding beats and a playful guitar line. Zippy, playful and futuristic, the song is perfect encapsulation of Partridge’s musical bugbears: novelty tunes heard courtesy of a junked record player his father nailed to a tea trolley. “I think he thought that was swish — that you could move it from one room to another and plug it in in another room,” Partridge says. “It was very perverse.” a b c Bernhardt, Todd; Partridge, Andy (6 January 2008). "Andy discusses 'Complicated Game' ". Chalkhills . Retrieved 30 August 2019.

Larkin, Colin (2011). "XTC". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th conciseed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8. Herrera, Ernesto (12 April 2019). " 'Drums and Wires': 40 años de un emblema de la 'new wave' ". Milenio (in Spanish) . Retrieved 27 May 2019. Lyrically, the album focuses on the trappings of the modern world, a highly new wave sentiment. Best described as “polychromatic”, the album is an off-kilter, angular offering. With the effective production and compositional aspects of the album, they are matched by Partridge’s insightful lyrics and worldview. You’re influenced by other people around you when you’re not sure of yourself,” Moulding says, referring to the band’s high-energy former keyboard player, Barry Andrews, who left after Go 2. Guitarist Dave Gregory joined soon after. “Up until that point, we were viewed as a poor man’s Talking Heads or something,” Moulding adds. “People called us ‘quirky.’ But when we came out with Drums and Wires it was like a different band, really. Mainly, that was probably my fault.” songwriting muscle (which is becoming delightfully erect).” Andy: “Suddenly we were a three piece. The songwriting wasXu9O9O.QxU35LYCz5Qnd_Ow9X28sMiwb6MGFXLot0dAu2FE4vYUW3JJ8IzZh2uPBWNiDFdRk5rmpOtn6IMQwxYlYI8flXC5XbuloMpm The thing I love about this band the most is the way they play with the English language; manufacturing words to suit the occasion; using alliteration to emphasise their point; choosing their words as much for their sound as their meaning. Take "Helicopter" – the story of a girl let loose on the world after a sheltered upbringing (I think) – the line "she a laughing giggly whirlybird. She got to be obscene to be obheard" shouldn't work but just seems to capture the mood perfectly. Moulding agrees. “I started writing more in my own self; I think in the first two albums I was trying to find my niche, what was me and what wasn’t,” he tells TIDAL. “ Drums and Wires was a new start for me and I was writing in the vein that I wanted to write in. And we had a hit! That was a surprise…” Moulding scored the band a hit with “Making Plans for Nigel,” which peaked at number 17 on the UK singles chart. The song would become a kind of blueprint for Moulding’s songwriting style: pastoral, sweet and just a little cheeky. It was inspired by the plays of British writer-actor Alan Bennett, “who writes principally about home life and these guys who spent most of their time with their mothers,” Moulding says.

Between Go 2 and Drums And Wires the band had undergone a personnel change. Out of the door went keyboard player Barry Andrews and into his shoes stepped Dave Gregory – not a straight swap because Gregory was more of a guitarist who could, if need be, play the keyboards. The result is a more stable, rounded sound providing songwriters Partridge and Moulding the foundation on which to build their weird and wonderful creations. The third XTC record was a considerable improvement over Go 2. Keyboardist Barry Andrews had been replaced by guitarist Dave Gregory, so the sound had been completely revamped. It was still new wave, but guitar new wave more than keyboard new wave. The common 1979 British New Wave band use of reggae accents in some of the beats and guitars was still there, though.

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a b Kot, Greg (3 May 1992). "The XTC Legacy: An Appraisal". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 1 November 2020. a b c d Bernhardt, Todd (15 December 2008). "Dave remembers 'Making Plans for Nigel' ". Chalkhills . Retrieved 20 September 2017.

In an interesting U-turn, the band opted to hire a second guitarist rather than a replacement keyboardist. The man they chose was Dave Gregory of the Swindon based covers band, Dean Gabber and His Gabberdines. XTC held a “pretend audition” for Gregory, where he was asked to play their 1978 song ‘This Is Pop’. Gregory then asked the band which version they wanted to hear, album or single. To which Partridge remembers that they thought, “‘Bloody oh, a real musician.’ But he was in the band before he even knew.” Life Begins at the Hop" was released on 4 May 1979 [10] and became the first charting single for the band, [39] rising to number 54 on the UK Singles Chart. [40] They played a 23-date English tour, playing to half- or quarter-full concert halls. [8] In July, music videos directed by Russell Mulcahy were filmed for "Making Plans for Nigel" and "Life Begins at the Hop". [7] From 25 July to 17 August, they embarked on another tour of Australia, which was more successful. [8] [41] Immediately following the tour, the band arrived in Japan and played four dates in Osaka. Partridge recalled the band encountering much fan hysteria in Japan: "We could hardly go anywhere without being screamed at. You'd walk into a hotel lobby and there'd be a crowd of girls sitting around waiting for you." [42]Amidst this splendid flowering of the post-punk community, replete with the sort of musical diversity that would have been unimaginable two years earlier and sadly unthinkable today, Swindon’s finest, XTC, also produced an early classic album with the Steve Lillywhite produced Drums And Wires. Andy Partridge recalls it as an optimistic time for the band. Dave Gregory’s arrival on guitar (replacing organist Barry Andrews who left following the release of Go2) marked a shift in style with the group now configured as a twin guitar/bass/drums line-up. Despite an endless touring schedule much time was spent honing new material. Both Partridge and Colin Moulding were growing in confidence as songwriters - this album did much to further their reputation for peerless post-punk pop tunes. But it was also Steve Lillywhite and engineer Hugh Padgham’s ability to give appropriate studio support and recording expertise to the more expansive pieces such as Roads Girdle The Globe and Complicated Game that helped to bring a new level of maturity to the overall feel of the release. In Moulding's recollection, "Up until that point, we were viewed as a poor man’s Talking Heads or something. People called us 'quirky.' But when we came out with Drums and Wires it was like a different band, really. Mainly, that was probably my fault." [65] He was surprised when the label began choosing his songs, instead of Partridge's, as singles. [11] Partridge felt that he was losing the band's leadership and attempted to exert more authority in the group, calling himself "a very benevolent dictator." [1] a b Dahlen, Chris (23 June 2004). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork . Retrieved 23 August 2019. Zaleski, Annie (20 March 2016). " "Music is so abused these days": XTC's Andy Partridge opens up about songwriting, painting and developing the "cruel parent gene" toward your own art". Salon . Retrieved 20 September 2017. Bernstein, Jonathan (1995). "XTC". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp.441–43. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.

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