the Horn Farm Paste Mob

XTC – Coat Of Many Cupboards (Virgin)

Beautifully packaged and documented box set, but suffers from a little identity crisis. About half — the unreleased songs and the better/weirder demos — glow like the products of a well-hidden cornucopia, which is how the whole thing is presented. But then a quarter of the box is given to vanilla album tracks, and a quarter more to lukewarm live recordings and unused versions which somehow undercut the final, well-known versions by being similar but not as good. Hopefully the weak half of Coat is due to Virgin’s interference, which would make the long-promised Fuzzy Warbles box a thing of beauty if it happens. We’ll see. The ultimate effect here is still quite impressive.


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