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Apple Venus Volume 1

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Editors’ Notes

Coming seven years after its previous studio release, (1992’s Nonsuch), 1999’s Apple Venus, Pt. 1 represents the continued growing weirdness of rock music’s most intellectual and meticulous pop group. (Leader Andy Partridge insisted the collection be released in two parts, causing the chagrin and eventual departure of keyboardist David Gregory.) XTC slowly evolved into the Steely Dan of alternative pop, as its quest for the perfect catchy hook was superseded only by its desire to fashion the perfect collective sound. Here, Partridge still breaks out the acoustic guitar for what sounds like a quick, impromptu run through of “I’d Like That” before opening into carefully constructed harmonies that reveal the group’s Beach Boys fascination. Partridge’s main focus is always on the arrangements, whether it’s the intricate weave of “River of Orchids” or the orchestral sawing of “Easter Theatre.” Fellow songwriter Colin Moulding interjects “Frivolous Tonight” and “Fruit Nut,” tunes that establish his worthy presence. Yet Apple Venus still sounds much more like a Partridge solo outing than even many of the group’s previous records.

Customer Reviews

Pure XTC

It grows on you ,then it takes you completely over

Apple Venus Vol. 1 and 2 - a series of paradoxes

Apple Venus 1 may be XTC at it's very pinnacle of pop innovation, while 2 could be considered a return to their roots. Both are truly something special. A fitting way to wrap up an illustrious career. This album took some serious getting used to. It's a mix of pleasure and pain. "Easter Theatre", "I Can't Own Her", and "River of Orchids" may very well be some of the finest songs XTC has ever released, while "Frivolous Tonight", "Your Dictionary", and "Fruit Nut" are among their worst. Polarizing songs on one half of a polarized project from a band that polarized pop critics and yet somehow was ignored by the masses. If you want to be challenged, buy this album. Otherwise, start with "Skylarking" as a more comfortable introduction to this band.


Formed: 1976 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

XTC was one of the smartest -- and catchiest -- British pop bands to emerge from the punk and new wave explosion of the late '70s. From the tense, jerky riffs of their early singles to the lushly arranged, meticulous pop of their later albums, XTC's music has always been driven by the hook-laden songwriting of guitarist Andy Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding. While popular success has eluded them in both Britain and America, the group has developed a devoted cult following in both countries that...
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