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The Big Express is the band XTC's seventh album, released on Virgin Records in 1984. It was not particularly well received, and is now fairly common in the W-X-Y-Z clearance bin of many record stores. (This means that you might be able to get a copy of it for $3, like I did!)
This album has a much more discordant sound than most of their releases, and is definitely more accessible for those of us who are already fans - if you're looking for an album to get into XTC for starters, you might like Skylarking or Fossil Fuel (a singles compilation).

Stylistically, it seems like The Big Express is all over the place. 'The Everyday Story Of Smalltown' is The Beatles' 'Penny Lane' with synthesizers, 'Reign Of Blows' is a dark and off-key rock song, and 'All You Pretty Girls' is... a sea shanty? It seems at times that the only threads holding these songs together are their complexity and Andy Partridge's voice.
Opinions seem to be mixed about this one. It's really an acquired taste.

XTC's players at this time were:
Andy Partridge - vocals, electric guitars, linn drum and harmonica.
Colin Moulding - vocals, bass guitars.
David Gregory - electric guitars, piano, mellotron and synthesizers.

Here is the track list:

  • Wake Up*
  • All You Pretty Girls*
  • Shake You Donkey Up
  • Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her
  • This World Over*
  • The Everyday Story of Smalltown
  • I Bought Myself a Liarbird
  • Reign of Blows
  • You're the Wish You Are I Had
  • I Remember the Sun
  • Train Running Low on Soul Coal
  • * Starred tracks were released as singles.

    These bonus tracks were also included in some editions:

  • Red Brick Dream
  • Washaway
  • Blue Overall
  • Also, in some editions, 'Reign Of Blows' is titled 'Reign Of Blows (Vote No Violence!)'

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