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Wasp Star (Apple Venus, Pt. 2)

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Waps Stat (Apple Venus Part 2), XTC

If you like the XTC then you'll like this album. Stupidly happy is a great song. For XTC fans this album is closer to "Non-Such" in the sound and tempo. XTC is one of my all time favorite bands so I give a positive outlook. Out of all their albums this is in the middle of the pack. The band really evolved over their carrer and this being their last album it shows the maturity factor. I write this since there were no reviews on this album (though released in 2000) wich was totally surprising. Listen to "Church of women" from this album and then listen to " Down in the Cockpit" from "English Settlement" (One of the best albums released at the end of their touring period) and you see Andy Partridges appreciation for the finer sex. "The man who murdered love" is another song showing Andy Partridge's world turning to song with style. Makes me want to go back to 1979 and grow up with this band again. But no. at least no matter what the weather "You and the clouds will still be Beautiful". Bottom line is: Buy every XTC album. If you young start with "Drums and Wires" or "Black Sea".

Amazing

This is a fantasitc release. I wish they would come out with another. There are no stinkers on the release at all. My two teenagers fell in love with this realease when it came out and there was nothing like it on the radio. Great song writting and melodies. If you are already a fan you will not be disappointed picking this up.

Too Long

It's a shame it took so long for this to be released and an even bigger shame that I waited until 2013 to purchase it - I hemmed and hawed on buying it when it was first released and then eventually forgot about it, and I'm sorry I did - it's as strong a release as anything that they put out and a true gem.

Biography

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...
Full Bio