XTC, Go 2

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 03.28.11 in Reviews

Go 2

Reaching beyond punk in ways that predated most of their peers

XTC’s second album of 1978 is only marginally less agitated and aggressive than its first. But Go 2‘s tempos are markedly more varied than White Music‘s, and the band is already reaching beyond punk in ways that predate most of their peers: Opening track “Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)” lyrically references the Munich disco sound that would inspire New Romantics like Duran Duran while its jagged syncopations anticipate Gang of Four. Concert favorite “Crowded Room” similarly accelerates ska a year before the Specials hit the U.K. charts. And while both Devo and Talking Heads worked with Brian Eno, the deadpan weirdness of “Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)” proves XTC could evoke the producer’s renegade creativity on its own. (Eno — who at one point contemplated joining XTC — admitted as much.) Keyboardist Barry Andrews’s revenge-sex fantasy “My Weapon” is lyrically regrettable, but it does point to the darker mood of his future dance band, Shriekback. Although Go 2 is kindred to its predecessor, its experimental cuts confirm XTC as a band to take chances: The catchiest and most fully realized track, “Are You Receiving Me,” was initially left off the LP.