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Wasp Star (Apple Venus, Pt. 2)

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Douglas Wolk
The first half of XTC's comeback dyad, APPLE VENUS, focused on their lush, complicated, dreamy side. For WASP STAR, they've mostly kept things simpler: They've ditched the orchestra except on the album's mini-suite closer, "The Wheel and the Maypole" and plugged in their guitars, and they're roaring like contented old lions. Now that they're down to a duo of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, the twitchy tension of their early records is gone for good, replaced by self-assured brawn, but Partridge's gift for convoluted melody is untouched by time. The big change, though, is that they seem happy for a change -- "We're All Light" is a sequel to Partridge's old song ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Douglas Wolk
The first half of XTC's comeback dyad, APPLE VENUS, focused on their lush, complicated, dreamy side. For WASP STAR, they've mostly kept things simpler: They've ditched the orchestra except on the album's mini-suite closer, "The Wheel and the Maypole" and plugged in their guitars, and they're roaring like contented old lions. Now that they're down to a duo of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, the twitchy tension of their early records is gone for good, replaced by self-assured brawn, but Partridge's gift for convoluted melody is untouched by time. The big change, though, is that they seem happy for a change -- "We're All Light" is a sequel to Partridge's old song "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her" where he finally gets the girl, and though Moulding's "Boarded Up" appears to be a complaint about living in a ghost town, he sounds cheerful just to be singing again. Even when Partridge is feigning bitterness -- as on "Wounded Horse," an accusation of betrayal with its deep-soul riff pumped up into crackling power chords -- you can hear a grin sneaking through.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Anyone expecting Wasp Star: Apple Venus, Vol. 2 to continue the majestic acoustic-orchestral blends of Apple Venus will be disappointed, because it's a straightforward collection of sharp, witty, well-constructed pop songs. Directness is perhaps the oddest thing about Wasp Star - it's unassuming pop from a band that operated on a conceptual plain for nearly 20 years. It could be argued that all the songs that fit a dark, introspective mood went to Apple Venus, XTC's first album after seven years in exile, while Wasp Star wound up as a clearinghouse for everything else. If that is true, it ignores a basic fact -- XTC's leftovers are better than most band's keepers. "Leftovers" isn't quite an accurate term, either. These songs are orphans, tunes without a particular project, which may mean that Wasp Star is an album of moments, but there's plenty to cherish here. Colin Moulding is in fine shape, with the spare "Boarded Up" and the clever "Standing in for Joe." Andy Partridge has a few tricks up his sleeve -- his compositions are heavy on electric guitars, he builds "Wounded Horse" around a blues riff, and "You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful" is just about the breeziest thing he's ever written -- but for the most part, he's in pop craftsman mode, turning out expert, layered tunes that may not push his talents but certainly exploit his capabilities to their fullest. After all, most pop bands would give their eyeteeth to have songs as smart, melodic, and memorable as "Playground," "Stupidly Happy," "My Brown Guitar" and "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love" as their orphans -- and if these constitute an average XTC album, that's a testament to what a terrific band they are.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/8/2000
  • Label: Pony Canyon Japan
  • EAN: 4988013091702
  • Catalog Number: 1449

Album Credits

Performance Credits
XTC Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Andy Partridge Guitar, Vocals
Caroline Dale Cello
Nick Davis Keyboards
Simon Gardner Flugelhorn
Colin Moulding Bass, Vocals
Prairie Prince Drums
Chuck Sabo Drums
Kate St. John Oboe
Gavyn Wright Violin
Peter Lale Viola
Patrick Kiernan Violin
Technical Credits
Haydn Bendall Engineer
Nick Davis Producer, Engineer
Barry Hammond Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Steve Gullick Portrait Photography
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    The lyrics were simple and the music was very, very bland. I didn't find any of these songs to be very artistic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A kinder, gentler Andy P.

    I agreed, at first, with another reviewer here. I wanted to hear Dave Gregory, a bit more of the young brilliant smartass that was Andy Partridge, a cleverer turn of musical phrase from Colin Moulding. I was expecting a more immediate sound, something that bashed me over the head like in the good ol' days. On second listen however, I chided myself for not hearing what's good about the *new* XTC. Possibly my ear lacks subtlety, so it took me awhile, but I just love this CD now! The opening guitar riff on the first song is simple but highly effective, and I found myself picking out the chords on keyboard, something I rarely bother to do, just to figure out what Mr. P. was doing. This is as interesting a work as they've ever produced, and all I can say to those who want more of the old XTC is, keep listening. There's a lot going on and more to discover each time you play this near-perfect CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WASP STAR SWEET SUGAR STINGS

    A giggling ray of alien sunlight beams down on you as the first notes pour forth from your stereo. The opener 'Playground' may be a lament, but Andy Partridge sounds like a grinning masochist thrilled to be at the recieving end end of life's cat-o-nine tails. The next number tells you why; Andy Partridge is a man in love and he takes us along for the ride with a musical lobotomy that captures that numbing ecstacy 'Stupidly Happy.' Colin Moulding brings us back to earth with a sublime tune about love that has stood the test of time and promises to extend its solid, homey comfort 'In Another Life.' The most amazing thing about this album is that as good as it starts out, it has an effect I've never encountered before. WASP STAR seems to have a sort of cumalitive effect and each song seems to build on the last. By the time I reached the end I was deeply into that spinning, sugar-clouded world that makes you feel like you could float right out your windows. XTC can take you there like no other band on earth. Like anything worthwhile it takes a little work to 'get' your head in the right way to recieve Partridge and Moulding's musical visions. If you've never gotten into an XTC album buy this one and just give it 3 listens...I promise you'll be converted! As a related note...these guys are making a big mistake in America if they don't release 'We're All Light' as a single. The success of Barenaked Ladies shows that this song could do very well over here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    And then there were 2

    A heaping dose of Pop just like Mom used to bake. How can songwriters of this caliber continue to go un appreciated by the fickle main stream media...Oh, I think I just answered that. Welcome back boys. =)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best album since the Beatles

    Have you ever heard a record so good that you can do nothing but listen to it all day? Well, this is one of those records, so purely pop, so divinely beautiful that the long wait for it to be released (almost 9 years) is worth it. As a matter of fact, if XTC has released their first record in 1961 and this was their follow-up effort, it would still be worth the wait. I have never heard such a stunningly pure, beautiful and enjoyable pop record in all my life. This album hurts to listen to, and takes me to places I haven't visited since my 21st birthday. It is achingly beautiful and hauntingly wonderful. 'The Man Who Murdered Love' is evocative and funny, catchy and cute. My favorite song, however, is 'We're All Light' a song about the evolution of humanity and seeing into each other. It is touching and thought-provoking at the same time, romantic and an exploration of the theories of physics. If Hanson and the Backstreet Boys have touched a nerve in America because of their catchiness and poppiness, this album is a full body assault and the most positive album I have ever heard from this group. I love them for it, I love that they are still vital 20 years into their careers and that they have produced their best record when 50 is closer than 40.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews