Psonic Psunspot by XTC

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Psonic Psunspot by XTC
Psonic Psunspot by XTC

Album Released: 1987

Psonic Psunspot ::: Artwork

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1.Vanishing Girl2:59
2.Have You Seen Jackie?3:21
3.Little Lighthouse4:31
4.You're A Good Man Albert Brown (Curse You Red Barrel)3:38
6.You're My Drug3:19
7.Shiny Cage3:17
8.Brainiac's Daughter3:59
9.The Affiliated2:20
10.Pale And Precious5:03


Recorded under the pseudonym The Dukes of Stratosphear, this is XTC pretending they're a 60's sort of cover-band.

Viewed one way, Psonic Psunspot is brilliant - XTC recreate the styles of tons of old bands, throw in lots of old-time production tricks, and some of the smartest lyrics you'll ever hear.

To nitpick though, whilst these songs are fun, there's nothing here that would've hit it big in the 60's, and XTC are just continuing their streak of albums that work well more as historical in-jokes, rather than as original artistic statements.

Luckily, the songwriting is mostly up to par. The best song is "You're A Good Man Albert Brown", a bouncy pub number that actually stands on its own rather than as a direct copy, and The Hollies send-up "Vanishing Girl" and the gender-bending singalong "Have You See Jackie" are both catchy and exciting.

XTC also hit the mark on two of the three mock-Beatles tracks: the 'Lennon' number "Collideascope" (ooh, how clever) has a great hook, and the 'McCartney' "Braniac's Daughter" is bubbly and fun, but the mediocre "Shiny Cage" tries so hard to sound like it came off of Revolver that it doesn't go anywhere - and it steals the opening chord from "I'm Only Sleeping", a tacky theft that XTC manage to avoid on the other songs.

A few others are mediocre too. The Byrdsy "You're My Drug" is monotone and lethargic, and the much-lauded late-period Beach Boys tribute "Pale and Precious" is pretty and full of Brian Wilson-type production tricks, but has no hooks, sounding more like half of a great Beach Boys song than anything that Brian Wilson himself would've authorized.

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by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben (blogging at Cosmic Ben [Defunct])

XTC return in the guise of The Dukes of Stratosphear, a little less psychedelic than 25 O'Clock, and a little more diverse, branching out into Brian Wilson-ish experimentation, Kinks-oid retiree odes, and Hollies-esque pure pop.

As a full-length version of 25 O’Clock, this album is naturally a little less tight, but it makes up for that with the band’s best song yet, the Smile-like nugget “Pale and Precious”.

The songs are interspersed with a pseudo-Alice nonsense story, but overall, there’s less stuff laid on, fewer odd overdubs and backwards tapes, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Dukes are really XTC. But there are much worse fates for a band than to be XTC, and they prove it nicely here.

Like its predecessor, you won’t be able to find this album anymore, but Chips from the Chocolate Fireball compiles both this and 25 O'Clock into one hallucinogenic pop.

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by Reviewer: S M Hellebore