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[Off The Record]
Stars graphics
XTC
HOMESPUN: THE WASP STAR DEMOS
(TVT)

Last year’s Wasp Star was a good-but-not-great XTC album, if only because it seemed they were doing what came naturally instead of taking risks. Now they’ve released the entire disc again, only this time in home-demo form. Of course, since Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are the only remaining members of the band, their individual home demos are virtually identical to their studio productions. All that’s missing are the live drums and the harmony vocals (though Partridge does pull off a good Moulding impression). So the flaws of the original remain evident here: " Stupidly Happy " is still too genteel a pop song to live up to its title, and the two-part finale " The Wheel & the Maypole " still sounds disjointed. But the brilliant moments shine just as brightly. Moulding’s " In Another Life " (presented in two near-identical versions) finds him casually dishing out the kind of melody that most writers spend years chasing. And " I’m the Man Who Murdered Love " chronicles Partridge’s three attempts to write a song using that title. The first two, done in different styles with different lyrics, are clearly not happening. Then lightning strikes and along comes the finished song.

BY BRETT MILANO

Issue Date: July 5 - 12, 2001