Since Skylarking, each XTC album was carefully composed and crafted, and Nonsuch is no different. Working with producer Gus Dudgeon (Elton John), XTC crafted their most immaculate album to date with Nonsuch. A measured and reflective record, recalling the Beach Boys more than the Beatles, the album retains some of their late-'80s psychedelic flourishes, but those have been integrated into an elaborate, lush pop setting that falls somewhere between Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons. While it lacks the thematic unity of Skylarking, as well as the grandstanding eclecticism of Oranges & Lemons, Nonsuch is in many ways more musically consistent, presenting a set of 17 wonderfully detailed and immediately catchy pop songs, ranging from the relatively rocking "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" to the sweet "Holly Up on Poppy." Occasionally, the album dips slightly lyrically -- Colin Moulding's "The Smartest Monkeys" and "War Dance" are a little too preachy -- but never musically, making Nonsuch a modest, minor masterpiece.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine