XTC, Skylarking (1986)
“I had never had something as difficult as working with XTC. I was fully aware of ‘The Syndrome’ – which is to say, I was a fan. I listened to the records, I followed the band and I knew the band’s dynamic. And by the time I got to working with them Andy’s stage fright meant his entire musical life was in the studio. They never wanted to leave the studio – doing the work over and over. Once it ended, the music making was over and this meant that the band was really wearing down producers. I could see that Andy was really hijacking the process. I felt that Andy was very unfair to Colin during that album – and it was basically a nightmare”. That’s Todd Rundgren – when I talked with him. And that is the reason I went back to this album. Now, it’s just his story, not the real story. But it contains elements/enough. The real story is in the record. I actually prefer other XTC albums – but I’ve loved going back to Skylarking, particularly with this story in mind. You go looking for things in the cracks, in-between the lines; you listen carefully to imagine the tension behind-the-scenes and you also understand, on some level, Partridge’s deep immersion/regression into the studio/away from the stage. Now he had a place to hide – inside the records. And you find him here, sounding wonderful (of course) – creating a fantasy world for 50 minutes. Or, to think of it another way, one that has lived on for years…and will continue to (for me, at any rate).
Sample Track: The Meeting Place
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