Nonsuch (album)

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XTC Nonsuch.jpg
Studio album by XTC
Released 27 April 1992
Recorded July–October 1991
Studio Chipping Norton Recording Studios, Oxfordshire, England
Length 63:29
Label Virgin
Producer Gus Dudgeon
XTC chronology
Oranges & Lemons
Apple Venus Volume 1
Singles from Nonsuch
  1. "The Disappointed"
    Released: March 1992
  2. "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead"
    Released: May 1992
  3. "Wrapped In Grey"
    Released: September 1992
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
NME 7/10[5]
Q 3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[8]
Select 4/5[9]

Nonsuch (styled as NONSVCH.) is the twelfth studio album by the English band XTC, released on 27 April 1992. In a 1992 MTV interview, Andy Partridge said that he had selected the name of the album after encountering a drawing of Nonsuch Palace and, thinking that the archaic word "Nonsuch" meant "does not exist" rather than, as he later learned, "unique". The album title may have derived from a couplet in the lyrics of the final song of Oranges and Lemons (their previous studio album) "Chalkhills and Children":

I'm skating over thin ice
while some nonesuch net holds me aloft

The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. "The Disappointed" was nominated for an Ivor Novello award. The album reached No. 1 on the Rolling Stone College album chart and No. 97 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. It was the band's second consecutive Top 30 success on the UK album chart, reaching 28.

The album produced two singles: "The Disappointed", which reached No. 33 on the UK singles chart, and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead", which reached No. 71. The band also wanted to release "Wrapped In Grey" as a single, but despite filming a video the release was vetoed by Virgin, prompting the band to go on strike.

Two promotional videos were made. A UK-only video for "The Disappointed" (the band also did a lip-sync performance of this song on Pebble Mill at One) and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," which received much airplay on MTV that summer.

The band performed "Books Are Burning" live with drummer Dave Mattacks on The Late Show on BBC-TV in April 1992.

The album cover is a picture of Nonsuch Palace in Surrey, from the book A Short History of Ewell and Nonsuch, by Cloudesley S. Willis. The palace no longer exists, but its former grounds included the present-day Nonsuch Park between Ewell and Cheam.

New 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes from the original multitracks by Steven Wilson were released in 2013.[10]

Track listing[edit]

UK CD: CDV 2699[edit]

All tracks written by Andy Partridge, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" 5:02
2. "My Bird Performs" (Colin Moulding) 3:51
3. "Dear Madam Barnum" 2:48
4. "Humble Daisy" 3:36
5. "The Smartest Monkeys" (Moulding) 4:18
6. "The Disappointed" 3:23
7. "Holly Up on Poppy" 3:04
8. "Crocodile" 3:56
9. "Rook" 3:47
10. "Omnibus" 3:20
11. "That Wave" 3:34
12. "Then She Appeared" 3:51
13. "War Dance" (Moulding) 3:22
14. "Wrapped in Grey" 3:46
15. "The Ugly Underneath" 3:50
16. "Bungalow" (Moulding) 2:49
17. "Books Are Burning" 4:52
18. "Didn't Hurt a Bit" ((Note: Only available on 2013 re-release) Moulding) 3:27

2013 CD/Blu-Ray Release[edit]

A CD containing the 2013 Stereo Remix of the Original Album plus Bonus Track, "Didn't Hurt a Bit."
A Blu-Ray containing the Original Album (plus "Didn't Hurt a Bit") as Instrumental & 5.1 Mixes.
Blu-Ray Bonus Extras
Andy's Home Demos
  1. "Always Winter, Never Christmas"
  2. "Books Are Burning"
  3. "Goosey Goosey"
  4. "Wrapped In Grey"
  5. "That Wave"
  6. "Goodbye Humanosaurus"
  7. "Dear Madam Barnum"
  8. "Crocodile"
  9. "Difficult Age"
  10. "The Ugly Underneath"
  11. "Holly Up On Poppy"
  12. "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"
  13. "Then She Appeared"
  14. "It's Snowing Angels"
  15. "Rook"
  16. "Humble Daisy"
  17. "Rip Van Reuben"
  18. "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love"
  19. "Omnibus"
  20. "The Disappointed (First Reference Recording)"
  21. "The Disappointed (Second Reference Recording)"
  22. "The Disappointed"
  23. "Wonder Annual"
Colin's Work Tapes
  1. "My Bird Performs"
  2. "Didn't Hurt A Bit"
  3. "The Smartest Monkeys"
  4. "Down A Peg"
  5. "Bungalow"
  6. "War Dance"
  7. "Car Out Of Control"
  8. "Where Did The Ordinary People Go?"
Promo Music Videos
  1. "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" (Promotional Video)
  2. "The Disappointed" (Promotional Video)
The Nonsuch Home Videos
  1. "45 Minute Studio Documentary"



String and brass arrangements by Dave Gregory, except "Rook" and "Omnibus" by Andy Partridge and "War Dance" by Colin Moulding. Strings on "The Disappointed" arranged by Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory.



Year Chart Position
1992 The Billboard 200 97


Year Single Chart Position
1992 "Dear Madam Barnum" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 18
1992 "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Nonsuch – XTC". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (3 May 1992). "The XTC Legacy: An Appraisal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  4. ^ Wyman, Bill (8 May 1992). "Nonsuch". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Staunton, Terry (16 May 1992). "XTC: Nonsuch" (PDF). NME. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Hepworth, David (May 1992). "XTC: Nonsuch". Q (68). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Azerrad, Michael (28 May 1992). "XTC: Nonsuch". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 890–92. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  9. ^ Harrison, Andrew (May 1992). "XTC: Nonsuch". Select (23): 74. 
  10. ^ Marchese, Joe (2013-06-24). "Steven Wilson Prepping Surround Mixes for Yes and XTC, More King Crimson On the Way". The Second Disc. Retrieved 2016-06-13.