Around the middle of the 80’s, more or less between The big express (1984) and the classic Skylarking (1986), XTC was immersed in the psychedelic sound of the sixties, letting this wave hit and spread through their music. This is neither new nor a secret to anyone who knows this part of the English discography.
What maybe not everyone knows (although I doubt it, after all habemus internet hahaha) and that at the time mentioned was a secret is that, so immersed as they were in the original lysergic era, Andy Partridge, Colin Molding and David Gregory decided to adopt pseudonyms (Sir John Johns, The Red Curtain and Lord Cornelius Plum, respectively) and let ‘that vibe flow’ through a side project/secret identity. Thus came The Dukes Of Stratosphear.
From the chosen aliases, you can see that the group was born parodying their references, but the situation became more serious as the XTCs got involved in this role. And until the release of the second album as Dukes (Psonic psunspot), no one had any idea who was behind those songs, which apart from some ‘modern’ effects seemed to have come straight out of a jam recorded in 68 under the influence of good acid.
The trio – joined by Gregory’s brother, Ian – only admitted to being the Dukes Of Stratosphear when the band had already exhausted their supply of psilocybin, in 1987. It was time for XTC to get back to work, but while they played like the Dukes of the Stratosphere ( that name, my god hahaha) recorded a very good portion of really VERY good songs, and to prove it we’re releasing the compilation today Chips from the chocolate fireballwhich brings together the aforementioned Psonic psunspot (from 87) and the EP 25 O’Clock (of 85), plus the enormous influence of the mad hatters who melted brains with their music 20 years before this album saw the light of day.
Listen on the stalk!