Friday, 25 January 2013
Desert Isalnd Discs 61 Apple Venus by XTC
61 Apple Venus Vol 1 by XTC 1999
Xtc had seemingly been in an endless dispute with Virgin records and seven years on from Nonsuch Apple Venus appeared a bit out of nowhere. Dave Gregory had left the band feeling that the orchestral direction had left him nothing more than a session musician.
You can see what he meant as the lush string arrangements and layered harmonies make this the best example of chamber pop (if such a thing exists) out there.
The lyrics range from the wide screen eco politics of River of Orchids and the Last Balloon that book end the lp to the gentle reflections on getting old and settling down of Colin Moulding's contributions. There is also Andy Partridge's bitter song for his ex wife in Your Dictionary with its death of a marriage
Now your laughter has a hollow ring
But the hollow ring has no finger in
So let's close the book and let the day begin
And our marriage be undone
The bulk of the album though is centred on the English countryside , be it the local pub , the harvest festival and a celebration of nature.
It is normally the kind of stuff that would have me running for the hills but only one track Frivolous Tonight strays too far towards twee.
Listen to these two examples and get carried along by the ambition , the harmonies etc and just wallow in the shear lushnes of it all
Harvest Festival - XTC
Easter Parade - XTC
You can buy a copy of one of the lost gems of an lp here