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  Wasp Star  
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This is the second volume of Apple Venus which is apparently the term that XTC are using to refer to the body of songs that they wrote in the mid 90's when they had no recording contract. Apple Venus was also the name of their last album which came out in 1999.

The last volume contained some pretty complex songs. It was almost "proggy" at times. And yet, it was infinitely listenable -- all full of great hooks and incredible wordplay. Colin Moulding and Andy Partridge can still write some amazingly catchy songs. That's pretty incredible when you consider that they have been doing this for about 3 decades now!

Wasp Star, unlike Apple Venus before it, is full of simple pop songs. Nice little ditties that are hummable and foot-tap-able, but don't have the complex orchestration and vocal harmonies of that last album. Neither is better -- both are good, just different!

I liked Apple Venus for its complexity. Sure, the songs were good, but there was a depth to them. Wasp Star's songs lack that depth of orchestration, but really, XTC doesn't need complexity to make good songs!

For example, XTC have written what i think might be the perfect pop tune -- a wonderful little ditty called Stupidly Happy. This song just sort of plods along under a light melody and a driving bass riff, as guitars and drums build. I guarantee that you cannot resist tapping your foot when this song plays, and i also guarantee that it will remain stuck in your head for at least an hour afterwards. It's just that good.

And there are other bouncey little songs like that on Wasp Star, like, oh to pick a song at random My Brown Guitar. Or In Another Life. Or Church of Women. Heck -- all of the songs on this album will put you in a good mood and get you moving!

The lyricism that backs up the songs is just as wonderful. In particular i like the lyrics to Church of Women:

Church of women
Will have you give praise
With a laugh, bark, and stutter
Like us men, like us men
They are nothing like us men
Men have gargoyles round their hearts
Wow! In six little lines Andy Partridge has summed up all of those popular Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus books! All that, and it has a beat too! That man is a genius!

Okay, so here's the verdict: if you like happy bouncey tunes (and i know that you do) then go out and get this! You'll be happily humming along for months!

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