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30 January 2013

Dukes of Stratosphear - '25 O'Clock' (Virgin)

What do we say about the Dukes of Stratosphear? Sure, it's a joke - this was released on April Fools Day 1985 and is so over-the-top in its Nuggets-style psych imagery that feels somewhere in-between parody and pastiche. My issue is that I actually like the Dukes of Stratospear far better than XTC, so the joke has backfired. Or not, cause maybe it wasn't really a joke. 25 O'Clock does its best to not be serious, but it's such a perfect mishmash of the Electric Prunes, Chocolate Watchband, 'Paint It Black' and all these other legendary antecedents that its impossible to not enjoy it. The production mostly apes it's influences too though there are studio tricks (most notably in 'Bike Ride To the Moon') that reveal it's provenance. But that's okay, because everyone was in on the joke - this is all wink,wink, nod, nod. This makes me question my appreciation for this though - about the ingenuity of the music - but then 'I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night' isn't necessarily a deep, moving introspective song either. 

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