Wednesday, July 07, 2010

CD of the Day, 7/8/10: Duncan Maitland-Lullabies for the 21st Century

As it appears XTC is no longer a going concern, the void left by their Beatles-meet-Brian-Wilson-with-a-British-pop-sensibility sound has begun to be filled with artists like Pugwash, Captain Wilberforce and The Eisenhowers. The latest entrant into this pop sub-genre is Dublin's Duncan Maitland and his most excellent debut disc Lullabies for the 21st Century. And not only does Maitland have help on this album from artists like Fran King and Barry O'Brien (whose 2004 Spark EP is an overlooked gem), XTC's Colin Moulding himself pops up to contribute bass on the opening track.

That opening track is "Your Century" and it's a great indication of what's to follow: a tuneful, buoyant number that has the XTC meets the Beach Boys sound. "Terry the Toad" follows, a wonderful midtempo track that recalls Michael Carpenter and Cliff Hillis and isn't as silly as it title might indicate. "Crash Position" is firmly in the Brian Wilson camp, with it's Beach Boys "ba ba ba" backing vocals, while "Handbirds" is first-rate British chamber pop and "Alien at Home" synthesizes the styles already set forth on the disc in a manner reminiscent of The Red Button's "Floating By".

Elsewhere, you have the rollicking pop of "Up to You", the lovely and reflective "Supermarket Dream", the Beatlesque "Lucky You" and the languid "Cry Me to Sleep". All in all, an excellent debut, a must for XTC fans, and another year-end contender.

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