It Bites were, in retrospect, a band around at the wrong time. It's not as if they didn't have a fair crack at the whip; Virgin spent a LOT of money trying to promote them, but the PWL-loving public of the late '80s were obviously a bit befuddled and wanted something more easily accessible.
"Once Around the World" is a unique album; none of prog's "time signature merchants", from King Crimson to Tool to Muse, have ever come up with something so completely distinctive as this in the studio. OK, admittedly most of Steve Hillage-produced side 1 is pop-influenced; but these were the days in which singles had to be sold...
Every track is a gem in its way, but the stand-outs are surely "Yellow Christian", "Old Man and the Angel" (horribly butchered to make a 4-minute single), and the title track. All three are utterly exhilirating, and utterly different to anything you've ever heard by anyone else. Ever, and evermore.
People talk about the album as a "last hurrah for prog"; it's that, but it's a lot more besides. It's the last time that a (perhaps commercially naive) expression of pure musical ability, divorced from the demands of teen cool, was given free rein by a major music label.
It Bites were a very noteworthy band hampered by internal in-fighting and a terrible group name. "The Big Lad in the Windmill" and "Eat Me In St Louis" were interesting, but nowhere near as good as "Once Around the World, which really is a very, very special album.