Wednesday, May 09, 2007

At Home With You

The re-issue of X’s “At Home With You” is out and I’m here to tell you that it’s essential listening, whether you already own it on vinyl or CD (guilty on both counts. Here’s where X “grew up” – in the broadest sense of the phrase. They broadened their sound by including a horn section, a ballad and upped the production values, without diluting their power.

The great thing about the Aztec re-issue is that it’s a double CD package, comprising as it does the original album, the flexidisc single (“El Salvador” live) and a rough and ready PBS live-to-air from St Kilda’s Prince of Wales Hotel in March 1985. It’s a scarcely adorned desktape – a bit of EQ’ing and that’s the extent of the pre-mastering production – and it rocks like hell. A true representation of what the band was like after its move to Melbourne (and all too infrequent tours further afield.)

I know punk purists (whatever they are) prefer “X-Aspirations” over “At Home With You” for its raw and visceral edge, but there’s no reason you can’t lap up both. “At Home With You” took five days to record (as opposed to the debut’s five hours) and has a markedly different feel with Steve Cafiero’s in-the-pocket muscle replaced by Cathy Green’s wickedly swinging backbeat, but they’re both superb in their own way.

Stay tuned for news about the rest of the back catalogue and prospective tours to the USA and Japan.

With all this X-love around the place, it’s a tragedy that Ian Rilen isn’t around to shrug it off. Take some advice and catch the current version (Steve Lucas, Cathy Green and Kim Volkman) when you can. They still do the band's name justice.

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