Music Reviews
The Dukes of Stratosphear

The Dukes of Stratosphear

25 O’clock/ Psonic Psunspot

Ape UK

Must not be much to do in XTC’s hometown of Swindon, because the amount of work Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding managed to produce is considerable. Take their trippy side project The Dukes of Stratosphear. At the same time these two works (the EP 25 O’clock and the full length Psonic Psunspot) were released in the mid ’80s, XTC also released The Big Express and Skylarking, two landmark records. Not a bad amount of work, but the band probably had a lot of energy, having ceased touring in 1982. So it was to “the shed,” Andy’s recording studio in the backyard, and from it came state of the art homages to 1960s rock, from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd to The Move, Jefferson Airplane to The Beatles. You hear their influences, of course, but when considered against their “real” output, you hear the building blocks that formed XTC’s masterful pop-snappy songs, psychedelic production tricks, and harmonies à la The Beach Boys. Consider these records Andy Partridge’s Nuggets, a peek into the mind of a songcrafter extraordinaire. Or perhaps pour a cup of tea, eat a special brownie, and just enjoy. Loaded with demos and videos, and all sorts of Duke’s memorabilia, these reissues are a groovy treat of psonic pfun!

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