(The Wasp Star Home Demos)

Reviews: More info...


Rock-History, Heimarbeit und ein Haufenextrem hübscher Songs.
-- Musikexpress/Sounds, June 2001

The sister record to last year's Wasp Star, the reclusive English power-pop trio dives into an odds-and-sods album. Even with the studio patter and stop-starts, it's better than some of their contemporaries' polished studio offerings.
-- Paul L. Hodges, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), May 11, 2001

Bertus Tips
September - 7 - 2001



Okay, first things first; The acoustic "Apple Venus Volume 1" was followed up by "Homespun (The Apple Venus Volume 1 Home Demo's)", later came the electric "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" and now there's this "Homegrown". Not a complete new album by XTC but a collection of demo's from the "Wasp Star"-period. The curious Andy Partridge and his 'partner in crime' Colin Moulding have recorded their ideas at home in a pure form and provided them with extensive liner-notes. The smart and catchy songs in some cases sound a lot different from the original versions, but sure do stay up with a surprising effect and succeed in making you "Stupidly Happy".

Cooking Vinyl

Guitar Player
August 1, 2001

XTC Homegrown

Following a song's journey from its conception to its final resting place can be an amazingly insightful experience. XTC's Homegrown is a collection of demos that ultimately became the group's phenomenal Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) release.

The collective demos of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding (who are now XTC's only members) range from Walkman-recorded scratch ideas to almost fully realized tracks recorded in the duo's home studios. Although the guitar is used mostly as a songwriting tool, Homegrown does have its share of cool 6-string moments -- in particular, the twangy fills in "My Brown Guitar," and the wild solo on "Church of Women" (which Partridge describes as "silly, couldn't-be-bothered, Van Halen guitar fireworks").

Interestingly, Partridge and Moulding confess to liking some of the demos better than the "pro" versions on Wasp Star. (Homegrown also boasts extensive liner notes by each song's author). Homegrown is a fascinating peek into the creative process of two of pop's best tunesmiths. Now go write a song! TVT.

Copyright 2001 Miller Freeman Publications
[Thanks to Wesley Hanks]

July 2, 2001
[latest music]

[7/2/2001 * XTC: Homegrown]

Hot on the heels of 2000's Apple Venus Volume 2: Wasp Star (say that three times fast) is Homegrown, an exquisite collection of sketches, half-baked ideas, and valient attempts at pop song-smithy.

As XTC's own Andy Partridge will attest to, songs don't write themselves and very often bear little resemblence to their adolescent selves. The idea behind Homegrown is to present to the listener the home demos that Andy and bassist/cowriter Colin Moulding created to solidify the the Wasp Star album. These are regular old cassette, 8 track, and reel-to-reel recordings that make up in character what they lack in fidelity.

I've had Wasp Star for awhile now and it has been in heavy rotation at home, work, and in the car. I've absorbed every nuance, string scratch, and vocal inflection and can almost recite the whole album by rote. How refresing, then, to be able to hear these songs in their infantile form. Which is not to say that demos themselves are amateurish. What you get is a unproduced, raw, and often striking glimpse into the creative talent of two of the most inventive songwriters of the past twenty years.

Gallery of Sound
June 2001


Homegrown - Wasp Star Home Demos

by Jack Rabid

As they did with Apple Venus I last year, XTC follow-up Wasp Star (Apple Venus II) with a nearly identical version of the same LP culled from their original demos! (To add to the confusion, the Apple Venus I's demos album was called Homespun.)

And as was true with Homespun, one again wonders why XTC bothers to throw exhaustive sums of money into the loo (as they say in their native Britain) re-recording these polished demos in so-called "proper" studios with producers. Reduced to the duo of leader Andy Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding, the two vets have progressed well past the scratchy one-track, straight-to-cassette skeletons they once set down more than two decades ago. Now both take full advantage of the home-studio revolution, as seen on the succulent sound of Moulding's playful, wistful, lyrically guilty "Standing in for Joe," and caustic acoustic "Boarded Up" and Partridge's Wasp Star standout, "Playground." All are as good as these songs can get, without further instrumental enhancement.

In fact, whereas Apple Venus I was at least greatly refined and improved over Homespun by the downpour of luxurious orchestral strings, which turned that LP into a special and unique comeback, the almost dully-straightforward guitar rock of Wasp Star actually seems far more refreshed in these more organic versions, making Homegrown the better version! (The addition of unreleased material and alternate demo versions also adds to the appeal.)

But now, since all the Apple Venus stuff was written, compiled, and demoed over the seven years the band refused to make records, it's high time for a freshly conceived direction; we're told XTC are finally addressing that. But this is fine company while suffering the delay.

Entertainment Today
June 6, 2001
Disc Domain




reviewed by David Bash

This is the second disc (Homespun was the first) by XTC in a series of home demos of recordings which ultimately led to the finished CDs, Apple Venus Volumes 1 and 2. Homegrown concentrates on the demos for Volume 2, or Wasp Star, and is a clear window into the genesis of these songs. There are 20 tracks on Homegrown, which means there are multiple versions of some of the songs. Most of these early recordings, "recorded in the respective homes of the songwriters," are pretty raw but very charming, and because they lack any sort of overdubbing are crunchier and more guitar-oriented than the finished versions. All of them are really good, but the most interesting are an early version of a "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love," which is a completely different song from the released tune of the same name, a "lounge version" of "Standing In For Joe," which is inspired by the faux instumental stylings of The Mills Brothers, and the tandem of "The Pot Won't Hold Our Love" and "Everything Decays"; when fused, the pair becomes "The Wheel And The Maypole," which appeared on Wasp Star.

It would be wonderful if every artist was comfortable with releasing their demos to the public, as XTC appears to be, but we can at least be thankful for this delightful collection.

Cox News Service
June 21, 2001
Entertainment, Television and Culture

Short tracks
by Carol Simmons


This British pop-rock duo's pretension of following up both of its previous two studio releases, Apple Venus Volume 1 and Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), with CD collections of all the rough material that went into their making - demos, song sketches, alternate recorded versions - is something of an eyebrow raiser. First, Homespun, released in 1999, succeeded Apple Venus Volume 1. Now XTC delivers Homegrown (TVT), which takes an inside look at the making of Wasp Star. There are 20 tracks in all, though several songs are offered under various guises. In Another Life, for example, appears as both an excerpt from the original demo and in a "jug band version." Do listeners need all this? Perhaps "need" isn't the most fitting word. Should they want it, then? Most definitely, yes.

Copyright 2001 Cox Enterprises, Inc.
[Thanks to Wes Hanks]

New York Post
May 22, 2001

TVT Records

Andy Partridge's XTC has to be in the top 10 when you're listing the bands who give us smart music that challenges, makes us think and stands up to years of listens.

The band's chauvinistic following will delight in the release of the 20-track "Homegrown" which collects the demos and rough musical sketches that were to become XTC's acclaimed 2000 album "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2)." Perfection isn't the center of this disc. Instead it allows the listener in on the steps and even missteps of the "Wasp Star" journey.

That concept of development is best illustrated on the song "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love" which is laid out three times on this disc, adjusted and refined. While the music is interesting as it evolves, the liner notes feature handwritten lyric notations complete with the mistakes, cross-outs and corrections. And then there's the notes about the songs from Mr. Partridge that give insight into his very being.

This is a rare glimpse into the creative process of rock 'n' roll.

Copyright 2001 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
[Thanks to Wes Hanks]


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