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Black Sea Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

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Amazon's XTC Store


Image of album by XTC


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XTC hailed from Swindon to cultivate a legacy of highly original British pop born from their early punk/new wave roots in the late 70s. Their angular yet melodic songs, lead by distinctive jagged riffs boasted the catchiest of pop sensibilities which was then injected with an edginess by the darker overtones of astute and often political lyrics. Throughout their career, from the jerky earlier ... Read more in Amazon's XTC Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Black Sea + English Settlement + Drums & Wires
Price For All Three: £31.09

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Jun. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00005ATHH
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,123 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Respectable Street (2001 - Remaster) 3:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Generals And Majors (2001 - Remaster) 4:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Living Through Another Cuba (2001 - Remaster) 4:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Love At First Sight (2001 - Remaster) 3:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Rocket From A Bottle (2001 - Remaster) 3:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. No Language In Our Lungs (2001 - Remaster) 4:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Towers Of London (2001 - Remaster) 5:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Paper And Iron (Notes And Coins) (2001 - Remaster) 4:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Burning With Optimism's Flames (2001 - Remaster) 4:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Sgt Rock (Is Going to Help Me) (2001 - Remaster) 3:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Travels In Nihilon (2001 - Remaster) 7:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Smokeless Zone (2001 - Remaster) 3:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Don't Lose Your Temper (2001 - Remaster) 2:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. The Somnabulist (2001 - Remaster) 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 7 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Apart from the superb 'Dukes Of Stratosfear' project I have ignored XTC over the last 30 odd years. Suddenly, after a chance encounter with their 'Apple Venus' album, I want their back catalogue, I want them all, and I want them now. I can clearly remember the day in November 1980 when The Jam released 'Sound Affects' and as I stood in the queue to buy my own copy the bloke in front was buying the recently released 'Black Sea' How I sneered. Horrible little cynical 16 year old that I was. How ridiculous, look at them in their diving gear! I'm the smart one here - give me miserable old Paul Weller any day. However, hearing Black Sea at long last after more than a quarter of a century, I am amazed at just how completely marvellous it is. It's very much of it's time, and of course it has dated - but it is lively, spiky and utterly positive, lyrically passing the baton from Ray Davies a decade earlier to Damon Albarn. Hearing again the four great singles (dismissed by me at the time as 'clever clever pop') they are quite simply superb and punctuate a filler free album, which (perhaps apart from the meandering thrash at the end) cannot fail but to entrhall on every play. This album is better than 'Sound Affects' - and it's never too late to discover that for yourself. Listen again to 'Generals and Majors' 'Love At First Sight' or 'Rocket From A Bottle' and try as you will to keep still. This is currently the daily soundtrack to breakfast time at home. It's time to embarras the kids............
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stevetrumpet VINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2003
Format: Audio CD
The best album in my view from the Swindon fourpiece XTC. Andy Partridge wrote most of the tracks here apart from Colin Moulding's 'Love at First Sight' and 'Generals and Majors'.
First issued in 1980 you can just hear the number of bands that have been influenced by this and other XTC albums over the years. Turn to Sgt Rock and turn the volume up, you will not regret it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 11 Dec. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Common knowledge will have you believe that the three prior XTC albums, White Music, Go2 and Drums & Wires are merely loud, noisy and somewhat misguided attempts to fuse the spirit of punk with a more catchy pop sound, and that it is this album, Black Sea, in which the band finally succeeded in pulling off such an experiment. This is, of course, somewhat untrue, with all three of those albums featuring songs that stand as worthy additions to the XTC back-catalogue, as well as working as important musical building blocks that would go towards developing the sound of this. At any rate, Black Sea remains the best introduction to the style of XTC, as well as standing, in my opinion at least, as the very best album of their early career.
Unlike later period releases, such as The Big Express & Skylarking, early XTC are categorised by their jerky-rhythms, anti-establishment lyrics, live-sounding production and serious pop hooks. This album is no exception. In fact, here the formula is intensified through the impeccable production of Steve Lillywhite, who draws out the very best from each member of the band, making the drums sound loud and fierce, the bass echoing and rhythmic, whilst the guitars come at you from both speakers to create a angular, two-pronged attack. If you'd ever wondered what the Talking Heads would have sounded like if they'd formed in Swindon and emerged from the UK punk scene, then look no further than this. The album opens with one of the band's very best songs, Respectable Street, which is possibly my favourite Black Sea track and is fairly representative of the style and sound of the album as a whole... meaning, if you like this, you'll no doubt love the rest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. J. H. Thorn TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD
XTC built their artistic reputation on their early '3D' EP and 'White Music' debut album as well as gaining a modest but healthy following. The commercial breakthrough came with their first hit, 'Making Plans For Nigel', from 1979's 'Drums And Wires'. 'Black Sea' was therefore set up for success while also being eagerly-awaited by the music press. What XTC did was retain their distinct, left-field touch and apply it to their maturing songwriting abilities. 'Black Sea', perhaps more than any other XTC album, shows traces of outside influences, though the result is positive one.

'Respectable Street', for instance, is in Kinks territory as far as the subject matter is concerned. The same can be said for other English topics such as 'Towers Of London' and there are hints of 'Revolver' era rock here and there. Nevertheless, none of XTC's forebears would have tackled any of these songs in quite the same way, nor would they have attempted lyrics as stylised as 'No Language In Our Lungs'.

The first single from the album, 'Generals And Majors', is the most instant, though the dreaded disco beat hovers in the background, something that Colin Moulding also employs on the bonus track 'Smokeless Zone'. Fortunately, it turns out to be a fleeting idea and doesn't sound too out of place here. 'Generals And Majors' is one of two anti-war songs, a tendency that was rampant among artists at the time, with the Cold War and Russians in Afghanistan dominating the news at the time. Andy Partridge's lyric to 'Living Through Another Cuba' doesn't offer anything different (Peter Gabriel's 'Games Without Frontiers' sums it up best) but it was an important subject in those days and musically it's a pretty striking item.
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