• X-Teens
  • ... big boy's dream EP (Moonlight) 1980 
  • X-Teens (Dolphin) 1983 
  • Love and Politics (Dolphin) 1984 

On their first release, these North Carolina popsters (produced by Don Dixon) seem ready to burst with giddy excitement. The songs rush along as bassist Kitty Moses, guitarist Robert Bittle and organist Todd Jones alternately sings their hearts out. Additionally, Jones plays a prominent instrumental role and paints the X-Teens in a number of happy hues.

Their eponymous album, released several years after being recorded, has a less frantic tone, but just as much enthusiasm and witty pop intelligence. Bittle and Jones individually write songs that encompass a lot of stylistic ground, from romantic sophistication to a wackiness that variously resembles XTC and the B-52’s. Without adding anything inappropriately slick, Dixon (working here with Mitch Easter) gussies the band up a tad and makes the LP a ton of fun.

More mature and varied, yet no less enticing, Love and Politics is the X-Teens’ final release; in 1985, they divided in half to form two new groups. The only thing really missing here is the lyrical silliness, downplayed in favor of more straightforward prose. An excellent pure pop album utterly free of guile and bogus commercial compromises.

[Ira Robbins]