Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Mar 21st 2007 6:12PM by Bill Crandall
Although the alphabet dictates that XTC and Yes sit side by side in many record collections (those belonging to non-Yardbirds and Yazoo fans, anyway), the British rockers make for unlikely neighbors. In 1978, XTC debuted with their 'White Music' album, full of jagged guitar riffs and frenetic vocals that would later become known as "indie rock." Meanwhile, Yes -- their prog-rock prime behind them -- released their high-minded and high-pitched last-gasp single, 'Don't Kill the Whale.'
On Field Music's 'Tones of Town' album (and, yep, I recommend the whole thing), the 21st-century British rockers dare to bring the two sounds together. The album's pocket rock opera, 'Working to Work,' packs dozens of call-and-response mini-movements into its svelte three minutes. Equal parts 'Long Distance Runaround' and 'General and Majors,' the song blends the lofty falsetto vocals with steam-engine guitar blasts . . . and darn if they don't go together beautifully.
Nobody was less punk rock than Yes vocalist Jon Anderson -- in fact, many angry young men formed punk bands as a reaction to guys like Jon Anderson. But now, thirty years later, Field Music sublimely answer the unasked question, "What if they had just asked him to sing along?"