Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dukes of Stratosphere- XTC's psychedelic ecstasy

It's not as if they kept it a well-held secret but XTC did a bit of skylarking before their album of the same name, very thinly disguising themselves as the Dukes of Stratosphere and putting out two albums in '85 (25 O'Clock) and '87 (Psonic Psunspot). Since the Swindon boys have always had a great knack for catchy songs, their psychedelic side-project proved more meaty that the West Coast Paisley Underground, not to mention many of XTC's own albums around that time. It might have also helped that they went with pop-psych (Sgt. Pepper, Notorious Byrd Brothers, Smile) instead of following the model of San Fran's original jam bands (which would have been a bad match). Granted that the little girl heard on Psunspot can get precocious after a while but try shaking a songs like "Collideascope" and "Brainiac Daughter" out of your head and you'll get whiplash.

And though XTC itself is no more, honcho Andy Partridge (aka Sir John Johns here) has reissued both DOS albums with bonus cuts (including their 2003 reunion song, demos and videos) on his Ape House label. Actually, DOS themselves are also no more- Patridge revealed on MTV about a decade ago that he'd done them in (in a cooking accident, no less).


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