Friday, July 17, 2009

Rock of Ages: XTC - "Making Plans For Nigel" (1979)

XTC is a strange breed of New Wave band. Although they are put into this category, I'd like to call them more Prog Wave. This is a sort of a stretch, but upon listening to their album Drums and Wires, you will see what I'm talking about. An air of very strucutred, yet altogether jangly and poopy tunes intersperse the album. Everything has strange time signatures and the guitars pop with strange sounds. Their ultimate track, "Making Plans For Nigel" is by far one of the most intensely structured tracks they have ever released. It's pummeling drums, frantic and kinetic overlapping guitar parts and pulsating bass line keep the song moving and chugging at a catchy pace. All the pulsating and surging add a great affect to the catchiness of the song mixing pop music with prog music in a perfect blend.

XTC continued this frantic and kinetic energy in their early career, even when they turned into a more straight up new wave band. They always had elements of jazz and progressive music throughout their catalog of geniusly crafted pop songs. "Making Plans For Nigel" was one of two hit tracks for them, but they never really took off much more than that. Critically, XTC was always known for their fantastic music, but crossover appeal never treated them with great successes. Luckily for us, their songs hold up better than a lot of new wave does now of days and maybe greater respect for the band will come posthumously. I still plan on blasting Drums and Wires for a long time coming, especially "Making Plans For Nigel." Also, check out various covers by Primus & Nouvelle Vague of the track as it's crossover to prog metal and bossa nova are pretty awesome.

Uhm, this video is freaking AWESOME!

Up Next: The Police are all by themselves and the 70's end, finally.

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