"There's Love in the Air" is Led Zeppelin with a sense of humor ("But I'm on the ground," laments the second half of the chorus) while "Maybe We Should Just Go Home" is progressive power pop a la The Minus 5. On "Waiting to Be Discovered," Andy Partridge-ish vocals coupled with a reference to the film Night of the Hunter conspire to make the track the perfect, and most likely first-ever meeting of XTC and Robert Mitchum.
Whether he's rhyming "catchin' on" with "Saskatchewan" or orchestrating the dramatic coda that caps "Light of the Moon" (and closes the album), a lot of Down at the Khyber is just Plaskett doing what he does best--being a genius waiting to be discovered. (That's his dad on banjo, by the way.) Displaying genre-hopping skills, he engages in some north-of-the-border soul on "Unconditional Love" and duets with Ruth Minnikin of roots-leaning labelmates The Guthries on "Blinding Light." Best of all are "This Is a Message" and "True Patriot Love": The latter just might be a love song involving national anthems, while both sport soaring, exhilarating choruses. With plenty of moments familiar and/or flashy, Down at the Khyber is the kind of sleeper album that you want to tell strangers about. So consider yourselves told.