|XTC - Apple Venus, Volume 1|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Tuesday, 23 February 1999|
| Performance 8.5 | Sound 8 |
Welcome back XTC. Just recently returned from a seven year absence from recording, caught up in legal and personal issues, the band is now back and in force with their new release, ‘Volume 1-Apple Venus.’ The original duo of Andy Partidge (vocals, guitar); and Colin Moulding (vocals, bass) has returned and is in great form. Some top-notch musicians including the London Session Orchestra, accompany them on this new release. I found the songs to be fresh with a relaxed and enjoyable theme. At times this recording had a Beetlesque type of sound, giving way to orchestral rhythms that had me singing along.
The first song in the recording, "River of Orchids," displays a wonderful tempo and is backed by an incredible orchestral piece. It set the pace for the overall disc quite nicely. I found the song, "I'd Like That," to be amongst my favorites on the recording. Its acoustical guitar and fabulous vocals gave it a relaxed and somewhat hypnotic effect. The same could be said for "Knights in Shining Karma."
The recording quality of this disc is pretty good. Not great, but plenty good enough to enjoy it on the most detailed playback systems. It has a fairly solid soundstage and delivers very good dynamics. For the most part the instruments are recorded very well. Their placement in the stage is nice, with excellent dynamics. The voices on the other hand are clear and dynamic, but are diffused throughout the center of the stage. This was more prevalent with some tracks, than others.
This is a hard disc not to like, it has a little something for every listener. I recommend you give this one a spin.