Familiar with a few of their earlier songs, I made 'Go 2' my first XTC purchase shortly after its 1978 release. I soon added their much-vaunted debut album to my collection and was surprised that it didn't sound as good. Andy Partridge may well disagree. He was later quoted as saying that the production lacked the edge of 'White Music', while song selection was the subject of a fierce debate between the three songwriters involved. Though keyboardist Barry Andrews managed to get a couple of songs on the album, he subsequently left.
Whatever the merits of the album, I feel that the recordings and the songs show an improvement in craft whereas 'White Music' is at times slapdash. The result is that 'Go 2' is more diverse and songs such as 'Beatown' and 'Battery Brides' are allowed to develop gradually.
The edgier, uptempo side of XTC is still represented in songs such as 'Crowded Room' and the chaotic 'Red'.
A preoccupation with the standardised nature of modern living and its expectations is evident on the first two tracks which deal superbly with the nature of courtship. 'Meccanik Dancing' is no 'Saturday Night Fever'. Typical of the band's approach at this time it has a sturdy rhythm, an odd melody and witty lyrics. By the time you reach Colin Moulding's in- your-face 'I Am The Audience' you've been led through a thoroughly diverse and imaginative range of material. 'Go 2' does lack hit material but is of even quality. My only major complaint is that the bonus disc of dub alternatives of five of the tracks could have been included with the CD rather than confined to the 'Dub Experiments' CD.