XTC, 'Skylarking'

This afternoon, the Andy Partridge-run Ape House Records offered an update on the forthcoming double-vinyl reissue of XTC’s classic 1986 album Skylarking, declaring the new corrected edition of the album “is about 30 percent better sounding than any previously heard.”

Ape House also revealed that the reissue — which is in the test-pressing stage and has not yet had a release date set — will arrive split onto two 45 rpm records (“because it will make the high end clearer and smoother”) and will feature a hybrid tracklist combining the different U.S. and U.K. versions: “Both ‘Dear God’ and ‘Mermaid Smiled’ are in their proper places at last,” although the exact order wasn’t revealed.

Furthermore, the reissue will come packaged in the “original artwork that the band planned and Virgin banned,” not “the last-minute Virgin replacement, the only one you’ve known.” There will be two different versions of the Skylarking reissue: a standard gatefold double LP and a “deluxe version in a board book format with copious notes from Andy and Colin (Moulding), original sketches, lyrics and photographs.”

As Partridge announced in June, Skylarking is being reissued “as it was intended to sound, but never has due to human error.” According to Ape House, mastering engineer John Dent was working on a vinyl reissue of Skylarking when he discovered that all previous vinyl and CD editions were manufactured with the sound polarity reversed. In today’s update, Ape House says Dent “has thankfully corrected this undetected error.”

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