We Kill The Beast

I first saw XTC on daytime TV somewhere close to 1980.

I think this clip below would be a good contender.

Look how modern 1978 looks and feels in the TV dreamspace.



One always sensed a tension watching these guys. They look genuinely edgy – many bands at the time had this vibe – before punk – a kindof pilled-up speedfreak look – Dr. Feelgood come to mind, and the Stranglers, many more of course – but this, in retrospect, may also have been because all was not going well for Andy Partridge – quite a tragic story of Valium and stress and performing and feeling the pressure that is really moving.

It was, and is a long running scandal with the benzos.

They had been performing as a band since the early 1970s (check out the Helium Kids!), so by the time they became well know, they must have been exhausted – this often happens even without enthusiastic substance use/abuse.


“I just felt like a performing animal, I was the monkey on the barrel organ.”

However, they were able to carry on and make some quite incredible studio music down the years.

Hard to pick a fave but English Settlement & Black Sea are perfect.

Dub Style

What I sense happened is that XTC motored along like many other bands did with a kind of punk ska engine – they were exposed to dub, as everyone in music was in the 70s & 80s, and this is probably why they released a complimentary 12″ called GO+ with their album GO – effectively remixes – what we would now call dub versions – extended, trippy, altered, deconstructed, re-modelled.

This was groundbreaking as an idea at the time – super common these days.

I will keep coming back to this dub undertow – it’s in many surprising places once you know what you’re listing to.

Produced by John Leckie.


And so it came to be that, in a vinyl store somewhere in the early 1980s, this unlistenable piece of madness (as it was, and still is, perceived) languished, unloved, in the 10p vinyl bargain bucket bin, and I bought it with my pocket money. Down the years I would listen to it. It’s like being abducted by aliens.

It’s only now, all these years later, that I play it regularly.

Only now do I really feel I can hear it properly.

I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe you will find the same.

As for Andy – he did kill that beast.


XTC GO+ reverse cover

Discogs files XTC’s GO+ under New Wave, Dub, Minimal, Experimental.


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