Top Ten The Dukes of Stratosphear SongsWho on Earth are the Dukes of Stratosphear? I'm so glad you asked. The Dukes of Stratosphear was actually a side project of the band XTC; the intention was to imitate their favorite British psychedelic rock bands, adopting pseudonyms in the process. They recorded two albums: the EP "25 O'Clock" and the LP "Psonic Psunspot" (they later made both albums available on a single disc, "Chips From the Chocolate Fireball"). I love both albums; they did a great job at imitating 60s psychedelia without being straight-up rip-offs, and there's a lot of humor injected into the lyrics.
The Top Ten
My personal favorite. This song was written by Colin Moulding, satirizing the moral panic of the mid-60s and how parents feared that the Counterculture would ruin their children. This song reminds me of "Only a Northern Song" and "It's All Too Much" by The Beatles, complete with weird noises swarming around in the background.
The first track on the first album. The song starts with a fairly long intro (complete with clock sounds), goes into the first verse, and bam! The chorus jumps out at you. This one reminds me of "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" by The Electric Prunes (technically an American band, but who cares? ).
The first track on Psonic Psunspot. This song is a send-up of The Hollies. It's not nearly as psychedelic as the other songs they did, but I love it regardless because the melody and the vocal harmonies are sublime.
This song is Andy Partridge's attempt to imitate The Beach Boys, complete with a complex middle section (think "Good Vibrations" but mellower). Apparently, when they played it for Brian Wilson for the first time, he thought it sounded like a Paul McCartney song. Sarcastic or not, he was wrong.
Definitely their most psychedelic track. Driven by phased piano a la "I Am The Walrus", this song features some interesting production additions, including manipulated vocals, sped up and slowed down samples of news broadcasts, lots of Mellotron, and even a section at the end that is played completely in reverse.
Uptempo and organ-driven, this song tells a whimsical story of two friends who go out on a bike ride through space (until the narrator gets a flat tire from hitting a satellite). It sounds like Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd meets "My White Bicycle" by the band Tomorrow (another great band worth checking out, if I'm honest).
This song is a happy, uptempo singalong music hall number- about a former WWII soldier who has since become an alcoholic wreck. It's very much in the vein of The Kinks; Ray Davies is well known for writing sarcastic pop tunes as a way of expressing discontent.
I don't really have much to say about this one except that the melody is so bouncy; it's a bona-fide earworm.
This song sounds like The Yardbirds meeting up with The Pretty Things - it's driven by a really cool guitar lick.
Driven by tremolo-laden guitar; this is one of the heavier songs on Psonic Psunspot.