XTC

The Big Express

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    8
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XTC took full advantage of their studio-bound status with The Big Express, creating their most painstakingly detailed, multi-layered, sonically dynamic album to date. The more upbeat material and brighter sound recall some of the band's earlier moments, but most of all, The Big Express signals a turning point for the band, setting the blueprint for their later approach -- a combination of studio perfection matched with impeccable songcraft that results in a thoroughly consistent and enjoyable album beginning to end. Skylarking, the album that followed, gets much more glory, and certainly its impact was greater (this one was virtually ignored), but really, The Big Express covers much of the same territory and is just as strong an album in many ways. [Three songs were added to the middle of the CD reissue -- "Red Brick Dream," "Washaway," and "Blue Overall" -- but they fit seamlessly into the complete picture.]

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