Following Go 2, keyboardist Barry Andrews left XTC and, rather than finding a replacement keyboard player, the band opted to recruit another guitarist (who could also play keyboards), Dave Gregory. The album that followed the lineup change, Drums and Wires, marks a turning point for the band, with a more subdued set of songs that reflect an increasing songwriting proficiency. The aimless energy of the first two albums is focused into a cohesive statement with a distinctive voice that retains their clever humor, quirky wordplay, and decidedly British flavor. Musically, Drums and Wires, titled to reflect the big drum sound they developed for the album, is certainly driven by the powerful rhythms and angular, mainly minimalistic arrangements, but the addition of a second guitarist also allows for some inventive and interesting guitar work (the "wires") that made up for the lack of Andrews' odd flourishes -- the tension between the two sounds creates some truly inspired, nervy pop. Colin Moulding also comes into his own as a songwriter, penning XTC's first substantial hit, the new wave classic "Making Plans for Nigel."
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AllMusic Review by Chris Woodstra