Friday, September 20, 2013

402 of 1001 Albums: XTC's Apple Venus Volume 1

Many have compared XTC's sound to The Beatles. To deny the guys might have had some inspiration would be a bit crazy. There are some strong similarities, but these guys do sound a bit more pop. There are some really beautiful moments on the album where the instrumentals soar and combine for a nice pop and folk sound. You sort of get a wide range that should lure in an array of people attracted to talent.

History: The band had established their own recording company, and their thirteenth album would be their first release with it. The band would also follow the trend of naming the album after lyrics that were on a previous albums of their. The album was a hit in the UK, hitting number 42 on the charts. The reception was a little mixed, but mostly positive for the album.

Vocals: Colin Moulding and Andy Partridge lead the band with their vocals. You can tell they switch vocals as the tone of the songs do change from tune to tune. The backing vocalist may not have been as 100% about where he wanted to go with the band though because during the recording of this album he left. He also was one of the prime instrumentalist to the band. The vocals are very soft and folk like though, so they do match that tone a listener would hope and expect from them.

Instrumentals: The instrumentals are what really worked for the album. Dave Gregory contributes to piano, and the keyboard. Colin Maulding is on bass guitar, and Andy Partridge is on guitar and keyboard. The other instrumentals include talent a bit outside the trio. You do hear brass in the songs, which mixes up the pop and folk sound a bit. For an album released in the 90's the instrumentals keep it progressive and timeless.

Recording: I would have a difficult time guessing this album was made in 1999. It has a sound that mixes in a bit of the 60's, and music tones we still hear now in music. The vocalist always doesn't have this voicing that matches the quality of the rest of the instrumentals, but he has a soft peaceful sound that works. It just wasn't the strongest part of the arrangement at times. Sometimes the music plays as if it sounds like a beautiful score though.

XTC was a band name that took me a few moments to put together, which is sad. I don't believe it really stands for anything. The band has a lot of talent, and they appeal to a crowd that would like the indie pop sounds. There were times I enjoyed the album, but it didn't snag me enough to ever go back and listen to one of the tunes again.

Rating 7 of 10.

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