Mummer (XTC) – Album Review (Part 2)

Part 1 is found here. It deals with the songs on the original LP.

Like every other XTC album, this was to be reissued in the ’90s. Every single CD comes with additional tracks, and I must tell you that the booklets are uniformly subpar. Upon release, Mummer was quickly (and deservedly) hailed as the XTC album that was bonus-tracked the best.

Six songs have been added. Two are instrumentals from the Homo Safari series, and while they are the weak links they do work. If there is an album where you could throw anything into the mix and get away with it, that is Mummer. The songs would have stood as a sore thumb anywhere else.

The four actual songs that have been added, though, would have worked here, there and everywhere. But in the context of Mummer, they work like a dream. You have two incredibly uplifting numbers in the shape of “Jump” and “Gold”, whereas “Toys” is one of Andy’s most whimsical tunes of the period, but it is absolutely lovable because (unlike the Mummer tracks) he stays more true to the sound that always characterized XTC’s most soaring pop moments. Continue reading

Mummer (XTC) – Album Review (Part 1)

The Cover That Was Accepted By The Record Company. A Cover With The Band In Mummer Regalia Was Rejected.

The Cover That Was Accepted By The Record Company. A Cover With The Band In Mummer Regalia Was Rejected.

XTC’s music is characterized by marked twists and turns, both in terms of melody and lyrics. As a new listener of the band, I always knew that any of their albums would be an experience akin to a mystery to be elucidated, and I was ready for anything. I wasn’t, however, ready for Mummer. And the fact that it was one of the last XTC albums I bought makes that all the more significant.

As you probably know, this was the first album to be released after Andy’s nervous breakdown and his decision that the band was to become a studio entity from that point onwards. It was also the first album without Terry – he left the band and moved to Australia with girlfriend Donna (and son Kai), and worked there as a drummer for some time before leaving music behind for good. Also, the ties with manager Ian Reid were to become severed and lead to an exhausting litigation shortly. Continue reading