Since this site started up, I've kind of made it a personal
crusade to help get the word out about XTC, a British band that I'm
particularly fond of who haven't gotten commercial attention. So,
what I'm about to write might surprise some long-time readers: I've
found an XTC album that is so-so.
Go 2, their 1978 effort, shows the lessons that Andy Partridge and crew had learned from such bands as Talking Heads and The Clash - two bands that might not seem like they had much in common with each other. What XTC tried to do on this album was to merge the pure energy and aggression of punk with the quirkiness of the blossoming New York New Wave scene. Unfortunately, they were not completely successful.
Things start off strongly for XTC with "Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)", a song that dares you not to get sucked into the groove that they lay down. The problem is that Partridge and crew don't follow it up with strong material. "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)" just seems to drag on, and saps the energy level they started with down to a dangerous level.
It will take time before you get back into Go 2, though tracks like "Crowded Room" and "Red" do the trick. If only the remainder of the album could continue in such a vein; the remaining tracks, while okay, are just average fare for your ears. Nothing leaps out and demands your attention; for all you could know, "Beatown" could be "Jumping In Gomorrah" if you weren't paying attention to the liner notes.
Now, I will admit that I first made the mistake of listening to Go 2 on a small boom box set at low volume; the difficulty with this is that the quirks of the music can't be heard clearly. Popping it into the tape deck of my car at full blast helped things markedly. (Maybe that's the secret to this album; you have to listen to it at high volume.)
Go 2 is an average album from an above-average band who I happen to expect more from. Maybe long-time fans of the band will find more enjoyment in this one than I did; either way, I don't think it's the place to start your XTC collection at.
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