Oranges and Lemons
? The cryptically citric choice of album title nods to both the much-loved childhood nursery rhyme and the vivid sonic textures of late 1960s' pop, the "marmalade skies" pigmentations that had increasingly coloured XTC's work since their withdrawal from the live stage in the early 1980s. Appropriately, several of Oranges and Lemons
' songs deal with Andy Partridge's newly acquired parental status (the cocktail-shaker jazziness of "Pink Thing" is not only about fatherly pride but a cunning double-entendre about his penis!) as well as wryly addressing the wider failings of the world into which our children are born. Yes, like some sherbety fructose-flavoured lozenge Oranges and Lemons
is both bitter and sweet. But it's unquestionably excellent, as witnessed by the Byrds
-u-like village-idiot love song "Mayor of Simpleton" and other highlights such as "King for a Day" and "Poor Skeleton Steps Out". From the Eastern mystique, serpentine guitars and "Ob La Di Ob La Da"-style chorus of "Garden of Earthly Delights" (conceivably what John, Paul, George and Ringo would have sounded like if they'd hung around a little longer with the Maharishi in Rishikesh) to the dreamy, green-field tourist-brochure panoramas of "Chalkhills and Children" (Brian Wilson drifting over the Wiltshire countryside in a hang-glider). 1989's Oranges and Lemons
is a fantastic record; a lucid, technicolour sprawl of modernised Beatleisms and airbrushed psych-pop confectionary. Commercially, it was such a shame Tears for Fears
had exactly the same idea at exactly the same time. --Kevin Maidment
24-bit remastered reissue of 1989 album. 15 tracks, including "The Mayor Of Simpleton."