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Skylarking

4.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Aug. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ape House - Panegyric
  • ASIN: B00FE1TYF2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,857 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Have revisited Skylarking for the first time for several years (upgrading music to iPod generation)I am moved to write my first ever Amazon review.
Skylarking it certainly a contendor for "greatest album ever written award". Lyrically perfect - gorgeous vignettes of everyday life devoid of any cynicism. Musically lovely as well - almost pastoral, so subtle, superbly evokes the mood of the lyrics.
Andy Partridge in fine voice - is there a more distinctive voice in rock and pop? And two fine songwriters - Colin Moulding's contributions may be fewer than Andy's but I have alway felt he has the songwriting edge. Anyone who wrote Making Plans for Nigel and Majors & Generals deserves instant induction in a music Hall of Fame.
Overall - I don't think I have ever been as moved by listening to an album as I was when I replayed this last month. No other band gets close to XTC for wearing their heart on their sleeve.
So go on world, buy it now....
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Format: Audio CD
There's a lot of hyperbole about how wonderful this album is on these pages and id just like to concur with every thing that's been written., apart from the guy wittering on about the sound. All I can say to that is it sounds fine to me. This is an incredible album and if some dastardly person ever held a white hot hat pin to my eyeball and demanded I name the best XTC album I'd probably plump for this one.....or maybe "English Settlement", any way this is one of the great pop albums of all time. The fact it sold so poorly is a folly so preposterous it would take Stephen Hawking to get his head round it.
The interesting thing about "Skylarking" is that it was recorded in a fractious atmosphere with Andy Partridge and producer Todd Rundgren getting on about as well as a mongoose and a snake. Perfectionist Partridge found Rundgrens more spontaneous recording methods irksome and this led to a major fall out with Colin Moulding as well . That the result is an album as musically rich and erudite as "Skylarking " suggests more bands should record their music in an environment of implacable hostility.
Opener "Summers Cauldron" ushers in on a miasmic mix of birdsong, chirruping crickets and wobbling keyboards segueing into "Grass" which features luxurious exotic textured keyboards and could be a sly nod to drug use or the salacious ditty it appears to be. Mouldings "Meeting Place" starts with ominous clanking industrial noises, utilised because the band didn't have a drummer at the time and is a sublime atmospheric pop song. The way the melody dips at the end of each line is like that hollowed out stomach feeling you get on a roller coaster. The orchestral stomper "Ballet for a Rainy Day" revels in its vertiginous string arrangement, as indeed does "! 000 Umbrellas" a witty break up song.
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Format: Audio CD
It's late on a Saturday night, and my 11 year old daughter Hayley wants to tell you exactly why should this buy this beautiful album. Take it away Hayley........

wow theirs a lot to say about this ablum were should i start, i have to say my favourite song on the album is possbley Earn enough for us and Meeting place i think them to song are the best, but i wouldn't not give the whole album a miss i like all the songs it just them two i think are cool. In the album some of the songs are joined togther like the firsts song plays and it goes dircertey in to the second song i think that's very clever. how i got in to XTC is weird, my dad got this book called 1001 albums you should hear before you die and it had XTC in it their was two of the XCT albums in their, thier was skylarking and the reading on that was fantastic and their was apple venus witch had a really good coment to it, so my dad got apple venus and i listened to it and i said do XTC do any more albums and he said yes so i have listen to a couple of their albums but skylarking hits the top on my list of 1 to 10 and if you dont like or listen or buy skylarking than theirs no point buying the rest of the XTC albums!!

And because skylarking is the BEST I GIVE IT A 5 RATING!!

So there you go - a genuine untampered with review from Hayley. I want to review this album myself so badly, but I would trip up on the superlatives. It is a recording of very great beauty, and if an 11 year old feels moved to review, then that is surely to it's favour, 20 or more years after the original release. Listen, Learn And Love.
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Format: Audio CD
Ever wondered what Astral Weeks would have sounded like if performed by Elvis Costello and produced by George Martin? If the answer is yes, then look no further than this album. Skylarking is, without question, the apex of XTC's mid-80's studio period, in which the band traded jerky-new-wave rhythms and bitter lyrics for more delicate, multi-layered arrangements and err... bitter lyrics! They also temporarily relocated to New York to work with producer Todd Rungren who persuaded the band that the songs they'd written whilst still back home in Swindon would make one hell of a concept album and thus, set about re-structuring the set-list to form the backbone of a loose narrative in which a young couple spend a summer's day languishing in a field making plans for their life ahead... or something along those lines.

As with other albums of this ilk, such as The Kink's Village Green Preservation Society, The Divine Comedy's Promenade and, more recently, The Streets' A Grand Don't Come for Free, the actual concept is hardly coherent, jumping from location to location almost at will whilst looking at certain themes that deviate from the story at hand. None of this is particularly important though, as the fourteen songs that made up the original album stand as some of the very best compositions in the whole of the XTC canon. However, it's not just the songwriting that is at its peak here, but the album on the whole that is wonderfully performed and produced, with the range of instrumentation creating a real atmosphere that compliments the subject matter perfectly. As they had done with earlier albums like Mummer and The Big Express, the songs manage to capture a sense of pastoral tranquillity, whilst also pushing the boundaries of what the band could do on a purely creative level.
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