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Black Sea [Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered]

XTC Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: 10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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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 + Drums & Wires + English Settlement
Price For All Three: 33.55

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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 (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,439 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) 3:380.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Generals And Majors (2001 - Remaster) 4:040.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Living Through Another Cuba (2001 - Remaster) 4:440.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Love At First Sight (2001 - Remaster) 3:070.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Rocket From A Bottle (2001 - Remaster) 3:300.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. No Language In Our Lungs (2001 - Remaster) 4:530.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Towers Of London (2001 - Remaster) 5:240.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Paper And Iron (Notes And Coins) (2001 - Remaster) 4:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Burning With Optimism's Flames (2001 - Remaster) 4:150.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Sgt Rock (Is Going to Help Me) (2001 - Remaster) 3:560.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Travels In Nihilon (2001 - Remaster) 7:040.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Smokeless Zone (2001 - Remaster) 3:510.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Don't Lose Your Temper (2001 - Remaster) 2:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. The Somnabulist (2001 - Remaster) 4:380.99  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Swidon's finest 3 Mar 2003
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top holiday destination 3 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
XTC fans are almost all agreed that Black Sea rocks but for casual listeners alike it is one 1980s opus you must own. The album's reputation was hobbled by the unfortunate fact that it's only top 20 hit, "Sgt Rock", was an apalling sexist novelty: ignore that, and a few other bits of dated ballast, because the rest of it is mind-bendingly great and it flows brilliantly, culminating in "Travels In Nihilon" the most savage and dark comment on disappointed punk hopes. And one of the added b-sides, "Somnambulist" is a haunting gem that really should have gone on the original record. Occasionally daft they may be but these yokels have written some of the best British pop music of the last thirty years and some of it is to be found on this CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When they were flavour of the month 29 Sep 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
This is just seminal, the perfect power pop record. All brilliant tracks, great production, punchy and bright, and superb lyrics. It makes you smile. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Rupe from London
5.0 out of 5 stars Blast from the past
I had forgotten how wonderful XTC are! I used to have this album on vinyl but got rid of all vinyl when I bought a sound system without a turntable. Read more
Published 19 months ago by SueG
4.0 out of 5 stars Britpop Invented
Blur / Nowaysis fans take note! Britpop started during the New-Wave era, not when the Gallaghers met Tony Blair! Read more
Published on 25 July 2009 by Mr. Simon Hodgetts
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh well, you're all saying how great they are now, however back...
I was a big fan of XTC by the time this album was released and loved their first three albums, and thought that they were the most inventive, distinctive, intelligent and creative... Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2008 by Gary Mcghee
5.0 out of 5 stars This phenomenon happens every twenty years or so
Having made their commercial breakthrough with their third LP Drums And Wires, XTC reunited with producer Steve Lillywhite and not only repeated the trick, but improved upon it,... Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2003 by knowledeayton
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Sea, but golden tunes. Go and buy today!
Black Sea, together with English Settlement, is a great example of what XTC might have been had Andy Partidge not called the album/tour normality of the pop world to a halt as far... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2002 by Steve Mantle
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Sea, but golden tunes. Go and buy today!
Black Sea, together with English Settlement, is a great example of what XTC might have been had Andy Partidge not called the album/tour normality of the pop world to a halt as far... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2002 by Steve Mantle
5.0 out of 5 stars XTC move from writing perfect singles, to perfect albums
The first few XTC LP's are just okay, with the occasional excellent song- 'This is Pop', 'Are you receiving me? Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2001 by Jason Parkes
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