Review Revue: XTC – Mummer

XTC - Mummer

I feel like bands with intimidating catalogs come up pretty often here in Review Revue-land – or maybe it’s just a recurring theme in my own head. Sometimes a band has a ton of releases and you don’t know which are the good ones, or the important ones. Sometimes a band has a ton of releases and they’re all good and important. In both cases, if you’re me, you freeze and spend years not listening to music that is good and important and will make you happy. Take XTC, for example. Whenever I listen to them, no matter what the album, I am happy with the listening choice I have made. And yet still, at 40 years of age, I have yet to really dive in and appreciate their catalog.

Mummer, the band’s sixth studio album (and fifth great album in an unheard-of run of seven great albums, according to Sound Opinions’ “Grand Slams” episode) is one of the many pleasures that awaits me when I finally get dropped on that desert island with a box full of great records I have thus far neglected, and despite the somewhat mixed response from the KCMU crew, I eagerly await the experience (I mean, we could all do with a desert island right about now, right?).

“XTC was once adventurous pop for the thinking listener. Now they’re rustic strummers with hooks galore.”

“I’m a bit underwhelmed.”

“I don’t think that they should be faulted for branching out. P.S. – I like it.”

“What does ‘Mummer’ mean?”

“‘Mummer’ is a proper noun – the name of a person belonging to a certain fraternal organization, whose members are known to wear funny costumes + parade down the streets of Philadelphia on New Year’s Day.” [Ah, remember the days before Google and Wikipedia, when if you wanted to know something you had to write your question on an album cover?]

“Not only a lawyer, but a historian . . . wow! All in one Neil Sussman!”

“Either that, or a man with a dictionary.”

“Or a Mummer.”

“Mellow guitars – good stuff.”

“‘Funk Pop a Roll’ is keen!!”

“It’s even better than keen – it’s ‘Neato!’ so play it!!”

“‘Funk…’ is Jammin’!”

Wonderland! Makes me think of David Byrne.”

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