This two-disc set delivers exactly what is promised in its parenthetical subtitle. The collection updates XTC's previous singles set, WAXWORKS, with an additional ten year's worth of selections blasted out towards the hit parade. That all of these didn't make a climb to anywhere near the top of the charts is no reflection on their quality--on the contrary, few bands have ever offered this breadth of sterling songs. From the bristly energy in their earliest sides ("Science Friction," "Statue Of Liberty, "This Is Pop,"), to mid-period streamlined powerhouses ("Generals And Majors," "Towers Of London," "Senses Working Overtime") to stunning, mature confidence ("Grass," "All You Pretty Girls," "The Disappointed,").
The singles stopped in 1992 because the band entered a period of public inactivity, embroiled in legal disputes with their then-label. That silence was finally broken in 1999, so look for a further chapter of singles to be added in another decade. FOSSIL FUEL makes a completely convincing case for the continuing importance of a rare and superb band.