XTC

Homegrown

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It goes without saying that a collection of demos is only for the diehard, only for the cult, but XTC has the kind of cult that ravenously seeks this material out, craving every note the group has recorded. So, it makes perfect sense for XTC and TVT to release collections of demos of the two Apple Venus albums, since it not only makes them easier to find, they get to profit from it as well. Where Homespun, the companion volume to Apple Venus, revealed that the songs were essentially finished when the demos were recorded, thereby only sounding like a slightly less-elaborate version of the final product, Homegrown, the demo companion to Wasp Star, takes great lengths to show how the songs were written. Several songs are presented in "early cassette ideas," sometimes followed by a finished demo (the most fascinating of these are for "The Man Who Murdered Love," which went through two separate incarnations, including a bizarre Tamla/"Motown" version, before arriving at the finished product -- and that demo is looser, slightly different than the one on the finished album). Though there are some songs that are quite similar to those on Wasp Star (such as the opener, "Playground"), there are a lot of little things that are different, not just in the stated early and alternate versions, but in the final demos, that make this utterly fascinating for the devoted. And that fascination is only enhanced by Andy Partridge's brilliant, self-deprecating, funny, revelatory liner notes that help make this already-worthwhile package essential for the collectors who would have bought this album in bootleg form.

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