Andy Partridge of XTC on 'Autumn Almanac'
It's a miniature movie, basically, that unravels itself as you are listening to it, and it has all these little movements or scenes. And they all seem to take place in the kind of mythical cozy London that the Ealing studios always had in their films, like The Lavender Hill Mob. The song just keeps turning and changing; you see a new facet every few seconds. But there's nothing unsettling about the fact that there are so many parts. Normally that would just be the death of a song, it would just scramble peoples brains.
The lyrics are very everyday. There's no "calling occupants of interplanetary craft" in it. All the language in it is what you'd say over a cup of tea. It's like a roller-coaster, but it's not a high-speed chromium-plated space-age roller-coaster - it's this slow creaking wooden baroque kind of roller-coaster. There are some lovely moments in it, like that sections that starts "Friday evening....." It starts off in this mournful minor thing, and you think, "Oh dear, Friday evening, the end of something," and then suddenly: "People get together" - it clicks into major, and becomes very optimistic. It just lifts your heart up another rung. And there's something very plain and uplifting about [from the chorus] "yes, yes, yes," this repetition of the affirmative.
The woodiness of "Autumn Almanac" is really appealing. Everything sounds like sticks and branches and planks. The whole song is wallpapered in dead leaves, as far as I'm concerned. The [the Kinks] touched on this same sort of thing later on, in "Shangri-La" and "Lavender Hill," but it was more mannered, a bit more ponderous.
Damn, I wish I'd written this song. I'll probably spend my life trying to. It's such a huge ghost; my entire songwriting career has been trying to exorcise it.
Mac Randall, Musician Magazine, May, 1997