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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 23 April 2014
...this is better, lots better. Back in the day I didnt have a lovely super duper hi fi, and whilst my adoration of all things XTC was 'up there' my appreciation of the nuances of sound wasn't quite so 'up there', both faults have been subsequently rectified.

My first impression is how gorgeous this sounds, lush, full, broad, deep, its just delicious....sorry, Im listening as I type.

So, expanded version with all the tracks on it including the one they thought might offend ( dear God), the cover in all its unadorned shamelessness ( how the heck this was considred risque back in the day ...ah well).

Many reviews will comment on the music, suffice to say I really do consider this album a classic, its an oft over used hyperbole, but it happens to be true, this album has stood the test of time.

Its no mistake that this album represents the psychedelic( esque) pinnacle of XTC, and, given the releases either side of it were Dukes Of Sratotsfear albums kinda confirms it.

I still dont fully understand the 'polarity' issue, but all I do know is that this album sounds utterly is part of a body of work that it still largely underepresented in a lot of music collections of my friends( and probably generally too); but they are all gonna be forced to listen to this little beaut. was 28 years ago!!! old!
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on 1 September 2014
Blimey....! It's like getting a new XTC album. Fuller, richer..What can I say that doesn't repeat what's been said elsewhere? I don't think you have to be an audiophile to immediately notice the difference. I always wondered why the original didn't really grab the feet as well...and it all comes from the ears of John Dent the engineer who spotted the fault decades after it was originally mastered. If there was a god, then bless Mr Dent...The low end is there now, the deep thud and punch of Colin's bass doubling with the kick drum, especially on Summer's Cauldron and Man Who Sailed.., Wow..not only that, the differentiation of instruments and vocals is much clearer and well defined. I imagine Andy is finally happy, He should be, such a wonderfully rounded album, the cycle of of their best and it sounds we can actually hear the whole band...:)
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on 23 April 2014
This is one of the greatest albums ever released, that much is indisputable. However, I am completely blown away by the new brightness and punch of this new version - it is definitely NOT a marketing ploy to get you to buy the same album twice. Obviously, you do buy it twice, but it is worth every penny; I have been listening to this album for over twenty years and I have heard things on it this week I have never heard before. I even approve of the new tracklisting, it just sounds a fuller, more complete musical journey now, and the segue between Dear God and Dying doesn't bother me at all.
Obviously, there will always be those who still aren't completely satisfied, but as a former (average) musician I tend to glaze over when I hear studio nerds banging on about 'compression' etc. and try to listen as a fan of great music and assess its emotional impact, not nit pick the audio quality. That being said, I am very glad it's been 'corrected' and it is still an album with an impact - emotional and musical - few others have.
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on 8 April 2015
Easily one of the best albums of the 1980's and possibly XTC's best work. Every song is stupidly catchy, the lyrics are fantastic, Partridge & Moulding both sound great and the corrected polarity makes everything 10 times warmer. To me this is very much a summer album, frequently conjuring up imagery of green fields and sunlit rivers.

From the recorded sounds of 'Summers Cauldron' to catchy stomp of 'Earn Enough For Us' to the acoustic shimmer of 'Mermaid Smiled', there is not one track that isn't brilliant. There is plenty of variety too. It moves from foot-tapping pop (the wonderful superman referencing 'That's Really Super, Supergirl' and 'Season Cycle) to reflective and somber ('Dying' and 'Sacrifcial Bonfire') without losing any flow. The vocals always sound passionate and the more upfront bass gives a great backbone to most of the songs.

Skylarking was XTC showing their brilliance once again. Along with Black Sea and English Settlement, this is another superb piece of work. There's plenty on offer here and this is a perfect gateway into the band due to its pop sensibility. It's a shame that XTC aren't usually mentioned as one of the great British bands of the their time, because albums like this show that when on form they were as good as anyone.
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on 23 August 2016
I never paid much attention to XTC back in the day, and I managed to miss this 80's classic first time around - after a few plays it's now in constant rotation in my car. Really pleased to have discovered Partridge and Moulding's quirky and clever songwriting. A few words about the sound quality - much has been made of the "corrected polarity" of this release and the better sound. I never heard the original release, but to my ears it sounds like producer Todd Rundgren has gone for a wall of sound approach - the production is lush and complex, but not nearly as clean as the next album "Oranges & Lemons". The top end in particular sounds muted and muddy on my setup compared to the sparkling highs on O&L (check out the cymbal crash that opens Mayor of Simpleton - nothing like that on Skylarking.) I'll give this 5 stars for the music and 3 for the production.
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on 10 July 2014
I love Any Partridge, and rate Todd Rundgren as one of the best musicians/producers ever, so when this album came out it was a moment of excitement. The album is fantastic, probably my favourite XTC album, and I never really gave the production too much thought as the quality of songs is superb however, having heard this 'Corrected Polarity' version the album has taken on a new life. It is clearer. sharper and there are sounds that I have never heard before. Love the inclusion of Dear God which has always been one of my favourite tracks. This is a brilliant album. BUY IT!
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on 9 September 2014
The 5 stars are for the music. Great album. Let's be careful here. Does it sound better? Yes, it does, but there's no getting away from the fact that it doesn't sound great because the production doesn't sound great. It's an 80s album and that still shows. Although it is warmer, there is a distinctively lack of warmth. Difficult to describe (plasticky???), but it still sounds harsh. There is NO eureka moment when you play this, even when you A/B it against the original album. I don't want to say you can't polish a turd, but you can't polish it turd, (although this is no turd).
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on 5 July 2014
An excellent edition of one of the band's best efforts.The sound is much warmer and the fade ins removed apart from Summer's Cauldron into Grass. Albums like this serve to remind us of how similar the human experience is for so many of us. From first and lost loves to secret trysts and the revelations that maybe we are not quite as nice as we think ourselves to be when we actually come to assess what we've actually done with our lives.
Great melodies, excellent lyrics. A welcome edition to anyone's music collection. Just watch where you're sailing.
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on 23 August 2015
I at first thought there was very little difference from the original re mastered version but now listening to them back to back there is a world of difference..just listen to the depth and bass from the drums in Summers Cauldron..and so it goes on its taken so long to spot that something wasn't right with the original..and why we need to pay out again for the music companys botching is another great cd now even better Summers Cauldron one of Andy Partridges best songs. Big Day also. this is one of the best now much improved so buy it ...and of course Black Sea..which is arguably the best of the lot.
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on 9 April 2015
Very glad I decided to buy this. I have had the 'uncorrected' version for years, and it never really moved me like some of the other XTC albums, although the songwriting is strong. No wonder: The master of the original version was screwed up in some way. This 'corrected' edition is fresher, clearer and sounds much more like the XTC we know from albums like Big Express or Oranges and Lemons, although Rundgren's production takes it just a touch further, in a good way. It also includes "Dear God" and the intended cover, both of which were excised from the initial release.
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