Reviews of What Do You Call That Noise?

Here are some of the lovely things people are saying about What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book. Thanks to those fine publicists Shauna McLarnon of Shameless PR and Sarah Palmer for getting the word out.

“The legacy of XTC receives the treatment it deserves”

Malestar General 25/2/19: “A lo largo de algo más de 220 densas páginas y con muy poco material gráfico, el enorme legado de XTC recibe el tratamiento que merece. Es un libro, en principio, para (muy) fans, pero bienvenido sea si anima a unos cuantos lectores adicionales a descubrir la música de una banda tan poco y mal conocida como -creo- imprescindible.” READ MORE

“Jam-packed with fun”

The Irish Times 2/3/19: “The book is a lovely conceit, from its Enid Blyton-esque front cover to chapters that show linearity the door: 10 year olds are given XTC albums to review, musicians are asked for their favourite XTC songs, fans explain what the lyrics meant to them in times of conflict (the debut album, White Music, writes a former bullied student “was a suit of armour for the outside world”), and, in true cult fashion, an overview of XTC tribute bands. An oddity but a goodie, and jam-packed with fun.” READ MORE

“A winner”

Peek a Boo Music Magazine 6/3/19: 100/100. “This book is a winner for two reasons, it is short at 228-pages so the digestion is easy but, and most importantly, it is concise. Mark Fisher has expertly crammed as much information about XTC through both his own knowledge and contributors. It acts as both a nostalgic journey for longtime fans and for newcomers an adventure into the world of the most compelling bands of the late seventies.” READ MORE

“An exceptionally well crafted book”

We Are Cult 11/3/19: “This is the Revolution In The Head book XTC fans have long wanted to read. A tapestry of finely meditated insight into the band that saw no limits but those set upon themselves, the book corners the what’s, how’s and why’s of what made XTC ecstatic.” READ MORE 

“The perfect overview of one of British music’s most fascinating, essential but also elusive bands”

Louder than War 11/3/19:Mark Fisher, XTC guru and driving force behind one of the leading fanzines of the Post-Punk era and beyond, Limelight, has followed up the brilliant Bumper Book of Fun anthology of all editions of Limelight plus new material with an equally strong ‘Discovery Book’. This time however, in addition to intriguing contributions by band members, there are insightful and in-depth features from the perspective of musicians on the great XTC Songbook. Put together, you have the perfect overview of one of British music’s most fascinating, essential but also elusive bands.READ MORE

“A delightful and dizzying collection of XTC exploration, analysis, and devotion”

Boing Boing 18/3/19: “This book just keeps inspiring and surprising me every time I poke my nose into it. This is a delightful and dizzying collection of XTC exploration, analysis, and devotion that should stoke the soul coal of any hardcore fan of the band.” READ MORE

“I marvelled at the density and scope of this enterprise”

Bookolage 30/3/19:My acclimation and approval occurred early in book, thanks to a piece by keyboardist Imogen Bebb called “Things We Did in Class,” in which she described “Mayor of Simpleton” as “a wall of sound that never once falters in pace or effortlessness.” This is followed by “Chalkhills’ Children,” a shared correspondence between Bebb and two other XTC fans, Mia Rankin and Kyrsten Leland.” READ MORE 

“Immense style and poise”

Record Collector, April 2019: “It’s a glowing collective affirmation, inspiring even inveterate XTC enthusiasts to revise or reinforce long-held opinions; but its addictively snowballing ardour is also flat-out guaranteed to drag noviciates to the ‘X’ section of real or virtual record racks.”

“A must-read for fans”

“Alla sorridente scoperta degli XTC” 

TomTomRock 27 August 2019: “What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book, assemblato da Mark Fisher (curatore del sito, è un libro giocoso, ironico, brillante. Ricorda uno slogan catto-didattico di decenni fa: ”Educando diverto, divertendo educo” (o forse era viceversa). D’altronde così dev’essere un testo dedicato agli XTC, che del brio, della genialità e del gusto per l’insolito hanno fatto la propria ragion d’essere fin dagli esordi.” READ MORE


From the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls comes a musical exploration of one of the most essential pop groups of the 20th century. 

What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book is a compelling 228-page volume in which some of the world’s leading musicians and keenest fans come together to discuss what makes XTC so very special.

£17.99 + free UK p&p (international p&p from £5)

Full details:

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About the author

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. While at school, he set up the XTC fanzine Limelight, which he republished as The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls (2017). He followed that with What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (2019). In 2020, he launched What Do You Call That Noise? The XTC Podcast.

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