Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Fruit Fallen From God's Garden

Several variations of that title were considered as titles for XTC's sixth studio album. The possibility of the band wearing fruit costumes for the liners was also discussed, but we ended up not seeing the lads dressed up like the Fruit of the Loom mascots. In fact, the cover we got for the album, which ended up being called Mummer, was this fairly nondescript one:

As a whole, the album has kind of a pastoral sound, which the band would later develop even further on Skylarking and Apple Venus Volume 1. It's not one of my favorite albums of theirs, but it's still enjoyable.

Beating of Hearts - Good way to start things out. Lyrically, it's a fairly generic "love is stronger than war" song, but I like the sound of it. I think the band was going for kind of an Indian sound, and while I'm not sure they succeeded, it is a very interesting arrangement. The bridge is probably my favorite part.

Wonderland - There's a pleasant sound to this low-key Colin song, but it's never really been one of my favorites. I think a lot of people disagree, though. Incidentally, I think this is the last XTC song recorded with Terry Chambers playing drums. He quit the band during the recording sessions, and ended up moving to Australia.

Love on a Farmboy's Wages - Excellent song, in terms of both music and lyrics. This was a single, and appeared on Upsy Daisy Assortment (the American greatest hits collection that served as my introduction to the band), and it definitely deserved both. Oh, and it's another song with a great bridge.

Great Fire - I believe this was one of the last songs written for the record, which the record label decided needed another single. Something like that, anyway. Regardless, I'm glad Andy did write it, because it's one of my favorites on this album. The wash of reverb at the end (similar to the ending of "Pleasant Valley Sunday") works really well.

Deliver Us From the Elements - While this song certainly isn't going to go down in the catalog of great XTC numbers, I've always kind of liked it. I think it's Colin's somewhat despairing vocals and the mixture of background sounds (both sort of a combination of chaotic and reverent) that make it for me. And it has another excellent ending.

Human Alchemy - You know, I appreciate the band's attempt to try something different with this one, and it's not a bad song. I just think there wasn't any particular need to make it over five minutes long. Not that I think long songs are always problematic, but this one has said everything it has to say about halfway through.

Ladybird - This light-hearted song picks them up again after the dirge and subject matter of "Human Alchemy." I think it's one of the first where Andy has admitted to the Beatles' influence. I've never quite understood why the British refer to a ladybug as a "ladybird," but the song really wouldn't work if it were called "Ladybug," would it?

In Loving Memory of a Name - I like the tune and general sound of this one, but the lyrics aren't that great.

Me and the Wind - I actually heard this song on the radio once. I believe it was a college station, but it was still unexpected and really cool. I think my favorite parts of this one are the flute during the instrumental breaks and the bridge (sort of a trend for this album, I suppose).

Funk Pop a Roll - Andy attacks the industry that feeds him in this catchy song that doesn't sound like anything else on this particular album. The "bye-bye" at the end was apparently because Andy thought he might have killed his career by writing this song. I've never heard of any actual controversy over it, though, so I guess it wasn't as bad as "Sgt. Rock" or "Knuckle Down." {g}

While Andy says "bye-bye" in the song, we're not ready to say bye-bye to this review, since there are B-sides on CD releases of this one as well. And they're really some of the best B-sides the band has delivered. At least three of them are album-worthy to my mind.

Frost Circus - Okay, this minimalistic instrumental isn't one of the songs I think should have been on an album, but I still quite like it. It makes for great mood music, and seems like something that would work well as background music for an icy scene in a movie or video game.

Jump - So, why wasn't this one on an album? I mean, I know they can't include everything on a record, but this is a really great song. Great tune, clever metaphors, typically great bridge for this era, and I appreciate the little nods to Simon and Garfunkel and "Pick a Bail of Cotton" in the fade-out.

Toys - Another excellent one, using toys as a metaphor for life, and asking, "If toys are quarreling amongst themselves, what hope is there now for the world?" The lines about the "dolly concentration camp" are a bit heavy-handed (does Godwin's Law apply to pop songs?), but it's really clever overall.

Gold - A cheering song sort of along the same lines as "Burning with Optimism's Flames." It's not quite as good as the earlier song, but it's still one of my favorites. Andy has some great vocal moments on this one, like how he sings "snarling dragons," and the laughing tone he takes the third time he sings the "skeletons in closets" line.

Procession Towards Learning Land - Another instrumental, and while I don't like it as much as "Frost Circus," it's still quite enjoyable. I like the title, too.

Desert Island - Probably the weakest of the bonus tracks, but still pretty good. The song compares Great Britain to a desert island, with some interesting metaphors.

Next week (probably), we'll start riding The Big Express.
Tags: albums, xtc
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