Los Angeles punk crew hit a sweet spot between hedonism and poignancy on a multi-layered second album
Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)
Always one of the more interesting and innovative of the post-punk/pop crossover bands...
Frontman and lovelorn loudmouth Andy Partridge is still a wee bit overheated and quirky - 'I'm The Man Who Murdered Love' is typical of the sort of blustery and fussy powerpop that's out of kilter with present-day trends, while 'You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful''s frantic reggae tinges bring to mind... (uughh) Sting.
All that said, this is a surprisingly decent album, as good as anything they've ever made. Bassist sidekick Colin Moulding's songs add a touchingly prosaic counterpoint to Partridge's offerings. 'In Another Life', with its gently asthmatic guitar accompaniment, is a nicely turned paean to married life, while 'Boarded Up' is an excellent, glumly evocative lament for present-day gig venues on their uppers. Partridge scores with the anguished 'Wounded Horse' but especially with 'Stupidly Happy', a superb summer slice of sonic Prozac built around a clipped, insanely repetitive guitar riff which is worth the price of the album alone.
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