24218-2 Oranges & Lemons
Produced by Paul Fox & XTC
Released on February 27, 1989
Find it at GEMM
24218-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 11.0: ORANGE YOU IN XTC. The act we’d known for all these years finally seemed to be embracing their role as the New Beatles, at least on the surface. Oranges & Lemons was the band’s second double-elpee and, like English Settlement before it, contained fifteen songs in the finest and prickliest of England’s pop traditions. Despite what had long become a revolving producer policy (now it’s the unknown Paul Fox in the co-producer’s chair), XTC continues to crank out predictably excellent product, changing little over the years since Drums + Wires/Black Sea. This time, it’s Andy Partridge who gets all the best bits: “The Mayor of Simpleton,” “The Loving,” “Across This Antheap,” “Hold Me My Daddy,” “Pink Thing.” Colin Moulding’s songwriting is understated by comparison, the champion of moderation in the face of blind ambition (“King for a Day”) and mute inaction (“One of the Millions”). As usual, there’s nothing understated about Andy, whether it’s the silly double entendres of “Pink Thing” or the socio-political rants of “Here Comes President Kill Again” and “Scarecrow People.” Having listened to Oranges & Lemons repeatedly (I’ve heard it 200 times if I’ve heard it once), I’d rank it right alongside their tastiest fruits: Drums + Wires, Black Sea, English Settlement, Mummer, Skylarking. Unlike the red herring, Psonic Psunpot, Oranges is the commercial catch designed to capitalize on “Dear God” and the success of Skylarking. It succeeded, endearing the boys to a new class of college freshmen who were too young to remember The Beatles or The Buzzcocks. The band themselves were purportedly dissatisfied with the results, but they’re a bunch of cranky wankers where their own records are concerned. Oranges & Lemons is classic XTC, bejeweled and brilliantly crafted and, if more accessible, still wound half a turn too tight. Of interest to prog fans, future King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto reprises the role of Prairie Prince as remarkable rhythmatist for hire.

24218-2 back sleeve
24218-2 back sleeve


  1. GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS    (Andy Partridge)    5:02
  2. THE MAYOR OF SIMPLETON    (Andy Partridge)    3:58
  3. KING FOR A DAY    (Colin Moulding)    3:35
  4. HERE COMES PRESIDENT KILL AGAIN    (Andy Partridge)    3:33
  5. THE LOVING    (Andy Partridge)    4:11
  6. POOR SKELETON STEPS OUT    (Andy Partridge)    3:27
  7. ONE OF THE MILLIONS    (Colin Moulding)    4:42
  8. SCARECROW PEOPLE    (Andy Partridge)    4:12
  9. MERELY A MAN    (Andy Partridge)    3:26
  10. CYNICAL DAYS    (Colin Moulding)    3:17
  11. ACROSS THIS ANTHEAP    (Andy Partridge)    4:49
  12. HOLD ME MY DADDY    (Andy Partridge)    3:47
  13. PINK THING    (Andy Partridge)    3:48
  14. MINIATURE SUN    (Andy Partridge)    3:49
  15. CHALKHILLS AND CHILDREN    (Andy Partridge)    4:59


PAT MASTELOTTO -- traps and buttons
Paul Fox -- extra ivory embellishments
Mark Isham -- heavenly honking
Ed Thacker -- engineer
Sheila Rock -- photography
Dave Dragon and Ken Ansell of The Design Clinic -- sleeve

return to XTC discography

UK/GER February 1989 Virgin 2LP/CD/3-CDS V/CDV/CDVT-2581 lyric sleeves, avail. as
ltd.ed. trio of 3-inch CDs
US February 27, 1989 Geffen 2LP/CS/CD GHS/M5G-24218/-2 lyric sleeves
BRA 1989 Virgin 2LP 166427008  
MEX 1989 Virgin LP LEMP-1643 lyric insert
JPN 1995 EMI CD VJCP-3115  
US 1996 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-682 original master recording
JPN 2001 Virgin CD TOCP-65719 digital remaster
JPN 2005 EMI Toshiba CD TOCP-67809  


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