Ape House [Release date 23.7.21]
When XTC was put on hiatus following 2000’s “Wasp Star”, Andy Partridge decided it was time to write for other artists. A number of successful co-writes came to fruition (Steven Wilson, Pugwash, Miles Kane), along with a couple of corking tracks written for the reformed Monkees.
However, for a new series of EPs, he is issuing Andy-fied versions of some of the songs that got away – the original demos having been ‘buffed up’ in the studio for our listening pleasure.
He doesn’t reveal who the songs were originally intended for / rejected by, but the accompanying notes make for an interesting read. The opener is the infectious ‘Ghost Train’, a fast and punky number (shades of early XTC) which also has a rockabilly and rock’n’roll vibe.
The lovely ‘Great Day’ is next, with Andy putting his “Macca hat on” after being asked to write a song for a female singer in the style of Paul McCartney. There’s a definite Dukes of Stratosphear feel (XTC’s alter-ego band) to this one.
Next up is a ballad, ‘Maid Of Stars’, which is a collaboration with Chris Braide. The brief for this one was stars and space, and Andy says he is very proud of the lyrics, which are about a medieval maid bathing and creating the universe with spilled milk.
Andy confesses that one of the reasons many of his songs failed to be recorded by others was down to him not writing generic enough material. This certainly applies to the final track here, ‘The Mating Dance’, with the artist’s management citing the lyrics as ludicrous. The offending line in this case was no doubt ‘if you want to get inside their pants, you’re gonna have to learn to do the mating dance’! It’s a fine track, which would have slotted neatly onto one of the latter-day XTC albums. Andy notes that it has a similar groove to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.
Housed in a neat sleeve, with fabulous Andrew Swainson artwork, on the evidence of this first EP, this is going to be a fascinating series – “Fuzzy Warbles”, with a twist! ****
Review by Jim Henderson
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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)
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