Colin Moulding’s ingenious bass artistry within the context of XTC, a remarkable, multifaceted collective which he founded with Andy Partridge, is testimony to the fact that a bassist can play any note over any chord as long as it has a purpose! A self-taught player, prolific composer and vocalist – Moulding’s style and sound are truly chameleonic.
From XTC’s power punk beginnings as evidenced on White Music (1978), their forays into mainstream song-craft as found on Black Sea (1980) and English Settlement (1982), on through to their immaculate psychedelic pop masterpieces Skylark (1986), Oranges & Lemons (1989), and Nonsuch (1992) – and the band’s wonderfully trippy side-project The Dukes of the Stratosphear -Colin plies every groove imaginable with upper and lower register expertise, and does it with a tone that enhances every song in XTC’s inimitable canon.
Among the greatest bands in any era of rock, to my ears, XTC combined The Kinks’ intelligent British disposition with The Beatles and Beach Boys mastery of melody and studio recording. Methinks if XTC had not refrained from touring early in their career, they would have achieved enduring, worldwide commercial success.