This third album marks a significant personnel change for XTC. Organist Barry Andrews departed and was replaced by guitarist Dave Gregory. While neither of the two wrote songs for the band, the change effectively removed the most "New Wave" element in XTC's original sound, ultimately setting the stage for a magnificent sonic expansion over the following several albums.
Opening with one of their biggest hits, "Making Plans For Nigel," the album finds the Partridge-Gregory guitar interplay exploring the rich fields of Captain Beefheart (the tag to "Day In Day Out" is pure Magic Band). The relative quiet of "Ten Feet Tall" sounds positively pastoral after the nonstop energy of the last two albums. With "Life Begins at the Hop" Colin Moulding was emerging as XTC's hit-bound writer, but since these charting entries he's remained pretty much in the shadows of the more prolific Andy Partridge.
Spin (p.104) - "New wave gets refined..."
Spin (p.102) - "If these guys were the Beatles of new wave, this is their REVOLVER..."
Q (7/01, p.139) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...XTC were a motherlode of rampant imagination...Here they began to find themselves in thwacking rock..."
CMJ (1/5/04, p.6) - Ranked #20 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1980".