January 18, 1999
Apple Venus Volume 1
The transcendental [B]'Harvest Festival'[/B] manages to make eyes meeting over a table of tinned peaches and digestive biscuits sound as momentous as [B]Brian Molko[/B] being made England manager...
7 / 10
It's an odd equation, but genius and laziness tend to go together. The reputation of Swindon's XTC as one of Britain's most inventive pop groups has been simmering gently due in no small part to the fact that they've done bugger-all for seven years.
However, no sooner do they venture out from in front of the TV than they've got two albums ready to release. 'Apple Venus Volume 1' is the first instalment in that double whammy, and while not entirely immune from Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding's nasty habit of hammering really hard on the twee pedal in moments of boredom, there's still enough of that psychedelic bumpkin magic to make this worth celebrating.
'Easter Theatre' is a classic example, ambling along like a lopsided Blur ballad before letting rip with a chorus so jubilantly massive that it defies adjectives. Elsewhere, XTC remain reassuringly weird, though the fact that opener 'River Of Orchids' sounds like Enya is possibly best ignored. Their final flourish comes with the transcendental 'Harvest Festival' which manages to make eyes meeting over a table of tinned peaches and digestive biscuits sound as momentous as Brian Molko being made England manager.
All of this and a second volume in the autumn. Bone-idle bastards but you've gotta love 'em.
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