GHS 4034 Drums And Wires
Produced by Steve Lillywhite
Released on August 17, 1979
UK CHART POSITION #34 . . . US CHART POSITION #176
Find it at GEMM
GHS 40334 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

N ow, THIS is pop. Drums And Wires sounded like nothing before it in the XTC catalog and everything after, kicking off a series of brilliant postmodern pop albums: Black Sea, English Settlement and Mummer. The transformation actually started with the single “Life Begins At The Hop” three months earlier. Before the names Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham were synonymous with the new wave of pop stars, they took on the troublesome XTC, helping to shape them into one of the most preeminent English pop bands since The Beatles. With Barry Andrews and his angry organ out of the picture, XTC settled into making quirky rather then cacophonous music. Guitar solos escaped in tiny tantrums, rhythm guitars scratched and meshed with one another like gears in a machine, Andy Partridge sang like a pouting child, but mostly it was about those irresistibly catchy melodies. You can take all of the sweet stuff that went before (“Statue of Liberty,” “Crowded Room”) and toss it out like sour candy. The real treats were here: “Scissor Man,” “Ten Feet Tall,” “When You’re Near Me I Have Difficulty” and, of course, “Making Plans For Nigel.” The songs came sputtering out of the speakers like the second English coming of Talking Heads, herky-jerky and heroic in their pop iconoclasm. Love songs, for example, were played with heart palpably in throat; elsewhere, Andy shook his tiny fists against an unfeeling establishment and made heroes of us all (Nigel, “Complicated Game”). As the first great XTC pop album, Drums And Wires has a special place in my collection. Definitely desert island material, this is the template for nearly every miracle that came after (“Snowman,” “Rocket From A Bottle,” etc.).

TRACK LISTING

  1. MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL    (Colin Moulding)    4:13
  2. HELICOPTER    (Andy Partridge)    3:54
  3. DAY IN DAY OUT    (Colin Moulding)    3:05
  4. WHEN YOU'RE NEAR ME I HAVE DIFFICULTY    (Andy Partridge)    3:20
  5. TEN FEET TALL    (Colin Moulding)    3:12
  6. ROADS GIRDLE THE GLOBE    (Andy Partridge)    5:11
  7. REAL BY REEL    (Andy Partridge)    3:46
  8. MILLIONS    (Andy Partridge)    5:37
  9. THAT IS THE WAY    (Colin Moulding)    2:56
  10. OUTSIDE WORLD    (Andy Partridge)    2:40
  11. SCISSOR MAN    (Andy Partridge)    3:59
  12. COMPLICATED GAME    (Andy Partridge)    4:53

    UK bonus 7-inch single
  13. LIMELIGHT
  14. CHAIN OF COMMAND

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  15. LIFE BEGINS AT THE HOP
  16. CHAIN OF COMMAND
  17. LIMELIGHT

    US original Virgin elpee track listing
  18. LIFE BEGINS AT THE HOP
  19. HELICOPTER
  20. MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL
  21. TEN FEET TALL
  22. WHEN YOU'RE NEAR ME I HAVE DIFFICULTY
  23. THAT IS THE WAY
  24. REAL BY REEL
  25. MILLIONS
  26. OUTSIDE WORLD
  27. ROADS GIRDLE THE GLOBE
  28. SCISSOR MAN
  29. COMPLICATED GAME

    US bonus 7-inch single
  30. LIMELIGHT
  31. DAY IN DAY OUT
  32. CHAIN OF COMMAND

CREDITS

TERRY CHAMBERS --
DAVE GREGORY --
COLIN MOULDING --
ANDY PARTRIDGE --
Hugh Padgham -- engineer

return to XTC discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/CAN August 17, 1979 Virgin LP V-2129 lyric insert, w. bonus 7-inch single
US 1979 Virgin LP VA-13134 diff. track order w. diff. bonus 7-inch single
JPN 1979 Virgin LP VIP-6940  
MEX 1979 Virgin LP LAE-223 lyric sleeve
GER/NET 1979 Virgin LP 200 917  
UK   Virgin LP OVED-113  
UK/NET 1985 Virgin CDX CDV-2129 w. bonus tracks
US   Geffen LP/CD/CS GHS/GEFD/M5G-4034 follows UK track order
JPN 2001 Virgin CDX TOCP-65713 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
NET 2001 Virgin CDX 850 653 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2003 Virgin CDX VJCP-68532 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2005 EMI/Toshiba CDX TOCP-67803 w. bonus tracks

 

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