The band that The Beatles and all those other 60's bands "st
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 05/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oh those psychedelic groundbreakers that The Beatles, The Byrds and other bands stole from FINALLY get a deluxe edition of their first EP. The Dukes are the band XTC on psychedelic holiday--aping the bands that inspired them and making a fun, amusing and musical classic.
This new remastered edition of the EP (which was combined in its original CD incarnation with "Psonic Psunspot" as a single CD)sounds superior to the 2001 "Chips" anthology issued on CD. That version sounded harsh and lacked the warmth, detail and depth of this reissue. This is comparable to (and if I may dare say superior)to the original CD issue of "Chips".
The EP is effectively doubled with demo tracks most of which have not been released before AND the music video for "The Mole from the Ministry" in a Quicktime file on the disc. We also get the final Dukes track "Open A Can of Human Beings" (which appeared on Andy Partridge's Fuzzy Warble CD and a charity CD). Additionally, we get Bike Ride to the Moon, My Love Explodes,What in the World?? all in demo form plus some rare or unreleased Andy Partridge demos including "Black Jewelled Serpent of Sound" and "Tin Toy Clockwork Train" which fits on here nicely. We also get acoustic demos for Nicely Nicely Jane.
The really big question though is how is the sound. The EQ is a bit different here than on the original Geffen/Virgin CD that combined this album with its follow up "Psonic Psunspot". I actually like this version a bit better as with time I've noticed things that I hadn't before (and not because it's horribly compressed or loud either--just has to do with some of the EQ choices).
The CD is presented in a deluxe hardcover miniature book and the CD slides into a cardboard holder (I'd recommend moving it into a plastic CD holder so it doesn't get scratched). The booklet includes comments from Andy, Colin and equipment/recording info from Dave.
A merciless yet affectionate tribute to psychedelic rock
S. Schorn | Austin, TX USA | 06/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Dukes/XTC were looking back twenty years or so when they recorded "25 O'Clock." What seemed like a pretty straightforward spoof/homage at the time sounds more complex now, since another couple of decades have gone by. And it's still vastly entertaining.
Younger listeners who've heard that the Dukes were a "60s spoof band" may be forgiven for thinking, upon listening to this album, "Oh come on--were people ever really THAT high, even in the 60s?" Yes. Yes they were. Listen to George Harrison's guitar solo (for want of a better word) on "All You Need is Love"--it's the sound of a man falling offstage, rendered on six strings. Measured against this standard, many of the Dukes' musical excesses seem almost subtle. The songs skate gleefully along the very edge of plausibility. Frankly idiotic lyrics and musical structures are executed with a supreme confidence that is strangely satisfying, and irresistibly funny. Don't, for example, listen to "The Mole from the Ministry" if you're drinking anything you don't want coming out your nose.
The import version includes abundant liner notes. Vocalist/guitarist/compulsive demo-maker Andy Partridge recounts the history behind the Dukes; bassist Colin Moulding contributes some memories of the songs and the recording sessions. Guitarist David Gregory describes the Dukes' gear with a level of detail that is frankly astonishing; in fact, at times it's downright perplexing--more on the level you would expect in an eBay listing, or eyewitness testimony at a murder trial. There's something kind of flattering about this, like talking to a highly-educated friend who frequently drops Latin phrases into the conversation, just as if you really understood them. The analogy holds for the songs as well: It takes awfully smart people to make such determinedly stupid music. Their faith in our ability to get all the jokes is quite touching. I've actually gone scrounging around to find some of the more obscure (to me) songs they mention as inspiration. It turns out the 60s were even weirder than I thought.
If you were born too late to experience the music of the 60s first hand, this CD will probably confuse the living daylights out of you, but buy it anyway. You'll learn a lot of (admittedly somewhat twisted) musical history from just a few songs. It's how people remembered the 60s in the 80s. If you survived the 60s, you really should indulge yourself with this one. You deserve some kind of reward, and no one's going to give you a medal.
What Can I Say About XTC? Hmm!
Joseph Eastlack | Sewell,New Jersey | 05/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a little more pepped up then the XTC that everyone who listens to their music is accustomed to. I particularly love the demo version of 25 O'Clock and that new song "Black Jewelled Serpent of Sound". I think that this cd and Psonic Psunspot should never have been released as "Chips from The Chocolate Fireball". They should have been released as they are now,the booklets and hardbound covers are great! The remastering is of the utmost quality."