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Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol.2)

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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  • Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol.2)
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Total price: £27.42
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Mar. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • ASIN: B00004GLNE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,760 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Playground
  2. Stupidly Happy
  3. In Another Life
  4. My Brown Guitar
  5. Boarded Up
  6. I'm The Man Who Murdered Love
  7. We're All Light
  8. Standing In For Joe
  9. Wounded Horse
  10. You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful
  11. Church Of Women
  12. The Wheel And The Maypole

Product Description

Product Description

1 x CD Album
UK 2000

2Stupidly Happy4:13
3In Another Life3:35
4My Brown Guitar3:51
5Boarded Up3:23
6I'm The Man Who Murdered Love3:44
7We're All Light4:39
8Standing In For Joe3:42
9Wounded Horse4:11
10You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful4:18
11Church Of Women5:06
12The Wheel And The Maypole5:55


The subtitle is perplexing: though apparently intended as a companion piece to XTC's 1999 comeback album Apple Venus Volume One, the songs on Wasp Star have little to do with the pastoral orchestrations of Apple Venus and much more in common with the XTC albums that preceded it, especially Oranges & Lemons and Skylarking. This is altogether welcome news, of course: though nothing XTC have ever put their name to has been dull, their greatest strength has always been fairly straightforward pop songs with subtle kinks in the musical and lyrical structure (think "Senses Working Overtime", "Love On A Farmboy's Wages"). The finest moments of Wasp Star--notably the epic pop hymn "The Wheel and The Maypole" and the spectacularly titled devotional "You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful"-- stand comparison with those or any other of XTC's many finest hours. That, in pop terms, makes the best moments of Wasp Star about as good as it gets. --Andrew Mueller

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm guilty of being one of those people that have known XTC's music through the singles but have never ventured further into their expertise. When I first heard Making Plans For Nigel, I was about 22 and working on a farm for a lazy sod of a farmer who rarely showed up so I spent hours alone in a tractor with nothing but music for company. I've always loved music and was very fortunate in having parents that allowed me access to the radiogram (remember them?) from a very young age and my formative years were spent listening to George Shearing, Duane Eddy, Bill Haley etc on vinyl, hours spent tuning through Radio Caroline, Radio London and, of course, Luxembourg. How I miss 208! Anyway, back to MPFN, when I first heard this, it was about two in the morning and I was in the middle of a field ploughing. I just had to stop to listen to this completely different piece of music, the likes of which, I'd never heard before. I was hooked and couldn't wait to hear it again and again. Remember- I was a farm worker in north Devon so I was so low paid that buying records was just a pipe dream. I was paid barely enough to get me to work and back! So years pass and I've bought hundreds of cd's after better wages and the kids fleeing the nest (Thank God!) and I finally get around to exploring the genius of Andy and Colin. This was the first album I bought along with Big Express. It's hard to believe that there's nearly twenty years between them. Two cd's with nearly thirty tracks and there isn't one track I dislike. They are the reason that I'm in the process of buying the entire back catalog. With apologies to The Who and Tom waits as they're not in the 'grab first' stack at the moment. The Dukes are in the next 'collect' category after the rest of of XTC. Andy Partridge is a gifted genius and it's a great shame that he and Colin Moulding aren't better recognised for their monumental contribution to English music.
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Format: Audio CD
What can I say? Well it's a review and I have to say something. It gladdens my heart to know that XTC are still there producing the kind of inspirational songs that make listening to music so worthwhile. In an age of ever-increasing pap-music, cynical marketing and till-ringing cover versions, XTC are still able to cut a swathe through all this dreariness with their creativity and true talent.
After losing many hours/days over the past year listening to 'Apple Venus Vol. 1', I am now facing the not unpleasant prospect of losing even more time in the coming months. 'Wasp Star' is an album full of blind curves that you negotiate at full speed, rounding them to discover yet another tune that grabs you by the head, heart and feet. I am already considering filing for compensation for excessive wear and tear to the carpet under my feet in front of my favourite armchair. RSI may result as your toes tap madly. Depression may set in as you realise you will never be able to write lyrics as well as Mr. Partridge and Mr. Moulding. But hey, your goldfish still loves you...... 'Wasp Star' has moments that make you recall the masterworks from earlier XTC albums; cooling, soothing reminders from a growing catalogue of treasures.
Listening to 'Wasp Star' will leave you with a profound sense that you have just been given privileged access to the creative pipelines that perforate the brains of the XTC boys. I am hard-pressed to name any other band that has been so consistently wonderful over the past 20+ years. What a way to start a new century (or have we?).
Buy the album. Your ears will fill with sweetness. Trust me, I'm not a doctor.
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Format: Audio CD
How to describe this? Tricky. If you're familiar with XTC in general, then this is another XTC album. If you worship the ground they walk on, chances are you bought this the day it came out and you've already made up your own mind. For the uninitiated, curious, or those who were drawn in by Apple Venus Vol. 1, maybe this will help answer some questions.
As the years progress, the distinct styles of Colin Moulding and Andy Partridge sound further and further apart. Vocally, you need 'em both to create that XTC sound, and as a duo the XTC concept still works on that level; the guitar parts which once screamed with melody and hooks are now pushed into second place by the vocal, a rather obvious move. Now that they've switched back to the guitar-based song medium, is Dave Gregory's presence missed? Undoubtedly. But I'm sure they're aware of this, because the songwriting and arrangement have been locked-up tight.
Highlights: "Playground", great pop/rock, and the unusual (for XTC at least) presence of female backing vocals - courtesy of Andy's daughter, Holly - which lighten the proceedings no end. "You And The Clouds..." is also damn funky and this is a perfect showcase for Andy Partridge's lyrical intellect. "Church Of Women" is another lyrical triumph, and "I'm The Man..." is the exactly the sort of great, happy, euphoric, anthemic XTC pop song that the public at large has been ignoring for the last 20 years or so. Fools! Their loss...
Downside: "Stupidly Happy" tries to dress up two chords with a gradual build up of musical layers; it worked on Vol. 1's "River of Orchids", it flounders a little aimlessly here.
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