Don't Look Back #3: The Dukes of Strasophear - Psonic Psunspot
Rarely does a band get the opportunity to create a second self which pays homage to a genre that has not aged well with time and is only followed by a small horde of notorious collectors and enthusiasts. XTC's notoriety however lies in their ability to rejuvenate, pull out, and congeal the best parts of what would normally an undecipherable jumble of compositions. The Dukes of Stratosphear were a short lived experiment that produced little material but whose influence can be heard on XTC's definitive record Skylarking. Made with practically no budget from their parent record label, the members masked themselves under archaic pseudonyms like the Red Curtain and Lord Cornelius Plum and created near perfect hard copies of late 60s psychedelic pop. Though intended to be marketed as a long lost compilation of the era, traces of XTC's rambling dexterity can be heard all over the band's only full-length, Psonic Psunspot. The lively opener, "Vanishing Girl", unashamedly tips it hat to jangle bands like The Byrds and The Hollies while discovering a new quaint approach to the remaking of a primitive sounding variety.