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Senses Working Overtime: XTC and Dukes of Stratosphear Song-by-song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Dec 25, 2021.

  1. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Heatwave:

    Nice catchy song by Colin. Indeed better than some of his material on the album. I prefer the single B-side version. The remix somehow reminds me of "Snowman".

    The Day They Pulled the North Pole Down:

    Works very well as a reprise after Heatwave. Hmmm, I like this quite a bit and the pair of songs together even better.

    Good stuff.
     
  2. Arthur Pewty

    Arthur Pewty Always crashing in the same car

    Heatwave: great guitar work, mannered vocals, a little undercooked still, but there’s progress. 3/5
    Heatwave Mark 2: 3/5
    The Day They Pulled The North Pole Down: I like Dub. I love XTC. I don’t like this. I think it’s the fairground keyboards. 2/5
     
  3. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Heatwave. A bit generic but a catchy earworm anyway. It usually gets stuck in my head for a day or two after hearing it. If it were any other band, it would be a career highlight.

    The Mark 2 version is an interesting forensic view of the original track but not revelatory enough to warrant more than a listen or two.
     
  4. hvgrace

    hvgrace Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    "Heatwave" is a little jokey but somehow Kinks-like, with the phrasing and the droll eye for detail. Colin's eccentric yelp, Andy's jagged Beefheart guitar and the circus organ work to make it angular hooky 1978-style fun. I prefer the B-side single version best but it's great hearing Andy's imagination at work in the "North Pole" remix. A budding studio obsessive... 3/5
     
  5. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I wouldn't be surprised if that was exactly what Andy was going for.

    "The Day They Pulled the North Pole Down" - this sounds a little like some of Raymond Scott's electronic music. I like it as background noise, but it needs a melody to hold my attention. Still, I'd be game for Andy's Outer Space Amusement Park whenever he gets around to it. 2.5/5

    "Heatwave" (both versions) - this has interesting musical elements, but they just don't gel for me. The White Music outtake feels more like an actual song, while the single version plays up the herky-jerky element. I don't really care for either. 2/5 for the b-side, 2.5/5 for the outtake.
     
  6. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Heatwave -- meh. 2/5.

    North Pole -- that whole "Take Away/Lure of Salvage" album is just awful to me, so I'll spare giving all the songs on it a 1/5
     
  7. redmedicine

    redmedicine Pop Punk Psych Prog

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Our boy is improving ... but not quite there yet. 2.5/5
     
  8. plentyofjamjars67

    plentyofjamjars67 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
    Heatwave: Dreadful. Easily my least favorite Colin Moulding song of '78, maybe their entire career. I like Terry Chambers' inspired drums and some of Andy Partridge's guitar bits, but that's not near enough to save this poor composition. Partridge's Bowzer Bauman backing vocals contribute to what I consider the nadir aspect of the song (and I always liked Bowzer). He makes it sound like a novelty goofy great, but this is no Ape Call or Transfusion etc. both versions 1/5

    The Day They Pulled The North Pole Down: better because it's so deconstructed as to not even resemble the song at hand, but most of AP's dub experiments I could take or leave. I know there's a couple few I like alright 2/5
     
  9. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    Location:
    So Cal
    I'm only familiar with the b-side version of "Heatwave" but I like it. Had I bought the 45 at the time, it would have been a very welcome non-LP tune. 3/5

    I'm not a dub fan, so I don't really care for Go+ and the like. Way back when, I picked up a secondhand copy of Take Away/The Lure of Salvage. Apparently, I didn't check the disc until I got home, only to find out that it was something else entirely (don't remember what). So, an empty LP jacket has been on my shelf for the 30-odd+ years since. Maybe it's better that way.
     
  10. Will Harris

    Will Harris Forum Resident

    And sometimes they would even give you two new and unreleased b-sides!
    Sell, sell, sell. Singles are still king.
     
  11. dthomas850

    dthomas850 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Heatwave (b-side version): I love this track, it's always been a favorite from this era and Andy's off kilter guitar is perfect. 4/5
     
  12. Will Harris

    Will Harris Forum Resident

    Not sure what I would think about the Cupboards box these days but I didn't think it had enough good stuff to buy back in 2002.
    I listened all the way through once. Maybe that wasn't enough of a chance. I didn't have the cash handy during the time. I did
    buy the three THE FUZZY WARBLES COLLECTION VOLUMES 1-8 + HINGES. Wish I could have afforded the originals with
    those fantastic covers - got the images on my hard drive... have to do. Both Coat of Many Cupboards (over a hundred bucks)
    and the Andy import collections were very expensive. At least Andy and APEHOUSE fixed the collection's price problem in due
    time. I was doing better by 2016.

    Anyway, I remember not liking the Mark 2 "Heatwave" that day. In late '78 I didn't buy the "This Is Pop" single but I did hear it.
    I love that "Heatwave"! Colin is getting closer to the songs that would make him famous and me love him and his off-beat tunes.
    The b-side version gets a 3/5 -

    I owned the Take Away/The Lure of Salvage record. It remained in my possession longer than White Noise and Go 2 but was a
    part of the trade-in plus a little cash deal to get an import English Settlement. I still have that. Later, traded away the American's
    version for about what it was worth, little. The 1980 record held its value. Liked it more than the first two albums but the import
    English Settlement was more than I could afford - a had to have that we will discuss later - I never understood how when whoever
    made the decisions of what to leave out left some of the better songs off. "The Day They Pulled the North Pole Down" is a lovely
    little psychedelic number. A soft 3/5 for that.
     
    dthomas850, brownie61, ARL and 2 others like this.
  13. I might actually prefer mark 2 Heatwave to the original, which doesn't seem terribly strong. But I definitely don't care for dub. So no ratings for me today.
     
    croquetlawns and brownie61 like this.
  14. ellaguru

    ellaguru Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milan
    I've no horse in this race, but Heatwave is my 2nd fave Colin b-side. Andy's solo kills.
     
  15. Michael Macrone

    Michael Macrone a roMance anagram

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes it does, and his guitar work makes the track. The melody, such as it is, falls short of "catchy" for me, though the tune is bouncy in its helter-skelter fashion. "Heatwave" (B-side): 3/5.

    The rebuffed demo is missing most of what I like about the tune; 2/5.
    Not to mention the droll eyes Andy rolls throughout the video. Note to Andy: Act like the camera isn't there.


    "The Day They Pulled the North Pole Down": Relative to your averate XTC dub, I actually like this. It's got a sound and shape that would be hard to achieve any other way. 2.5/5
     
  16. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    Maybe you're in luck, because the version of the song that appears on Beeswax is (very slightly) extended by a few seconds. And the fade comes in about five seconds later. Don't know if that means it has more finesse, but it seems a bit tidier to me, as it's not fading while the vocals are still going on.
     
  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Heatwave"
    1-1
    2-3
    3-10
    4-3
    5-0
    Average: 2.8029

    Our votes for "Heatwave Mark 2 Deluxe"

    1-0
    2-1
    3-3
    4-0
    5-0
    Average: 2.6875

    Our votes for "The Day They Pulled The North Pole Down"
    1-1
    2-4
    3-4
    4-1
    5-0
    Average: 2.25
     
    croquetlawns likes this.
  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Traffic Light Rock", written by Andy Partridge and produced by John Leckie.
    [
    XTC – Traffic Light Rock Lyrics | Genius Lyrics
    Background:
    Colin:
    Andy:
    Line Up:
    Andy Partridge: vocals, guitar
    Barry Andrews: piano
    Colin Moulding: bass guitar, vocals
    Terry Chambers: drums

    "Traffic Light" was an outtake from White Music and was originally released on a 1978 Various Artists compilation album called Guillotine.

    A live version, recorded in August 1977 was released in 2002 on Coat Of Many Cupboards.
     
  19. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Nice keyboards, but I can see why it was left off the album for better Andy songs - 2.5/5.
     
  20. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    Location:
    So Cal
    "Traffic Light Rock" is another nice extra 2.5/5.
     
  21. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Traffic Light Rock

    A reasonable song which combines rock and roll and XTC's style. Bu, like others I think it was the right decision to leave it off the album.

    3/5
     
  22. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Traffic Light Rock"

    I can pretty much replay my comments from "Hang On To The Night" - a fun little Andy song very much in his early style, not necessarily inferior to everything on White Music, but I'd struggle to make a case for it to dislodge anything from the album. How many dance crazes did Andy want to start?? 2.5/5.
     
  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    "Traffic Light Rock" is fantastic fun. I can definitely hear the early seventies influence on this -- this to me sounds like Rocky Horror Picture Show --as well as a sort of Ska-ish punk drive -- keyboards are hyper and fun and I give the whole thing s 3.9/5.

    Better on the album? AT this point I don't know. I think it would have been on the albun in the CD age, as indeed it is. It's better than some songs, not as good as some.
     
  24. intv7

    intv7 Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    "Traffic Light Rock" -- 2.5/5

    This is fine for what it is, and I can definitely hear the New York Dolls in it. Like a lot of these tunes, though, it's not what I'm coming to XTC for. Their strengths lie elsewhere.
     
  25. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    In the UK, at least, in 1977-78, singles, thanks to record company promotion over the New Wave, had regained their predominance among cool musicians and LPs sometimes took a back seat. That hadn't been the case in the early 70s.

    Traffic Light Rock - good fun, shows AP could just knock em out. 2/5
     

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