Senses Working Overtime: XTC and Dukes of Stratosphear Song-by-song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Dec 25, 2021.

  1. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    Shiny Cage. I really like this. Obvious Oasis Beatles influence. 4/5
  2. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Glos, UK
    Absolutely great Colin song, one of his best. The middle 3/4 section reminds me more of some American groups than the British ones. Why Shiny Cage? 4/5
  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Since that it was written for the big Xpress, I think it’s another one of those songs Colin wrote in that era about the working class in Swindon. Basically a similar idea to Ray Davies’ “Shangri-La.” Where the isolated palace becomes a prison.

    This sort of swinging character in this song is actually quite unaware or completely doesn’t care about the very real barriers in his life: he’s having a great time
  4. Nitrous

    Nitrous Forum Resident

    Shropshire UK
    Yep agree with all of you. Great rack 4/5.
  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Are you sure this is not meant for the "Three's Company - Janet Chrissy, Cindy or Terri", thread?
  6. prymel

    prymel Forum Resident

    “Shiny Cage” - A step down from the previous songs on the album, but still pretty good. 3/5
  7. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Shiny Cage

    Yes, it does sound like parts of many Beatles’ songs smashed together into one song. :laugh: That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, especially for a project like the Dukes. And hearing Colin’s voice singing it means my mind doesn’t jump straight to the Beatles when I’m listening to it. The Beatley parts are mixed up enough that it doesn’t really sound like any Beatles song to me, just vaguely in their style.

    As for the song itself, it breaks momentum in a few places, but mostly ambles along nicely. I have no idea what the shiny cage is supposed to be!

  8. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

  9. intv7

    intv7 Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    "Shiny Cage" -- 4/5

    This is one of the highlights on Psonic Psunspot. Definitely an "I'm Only Sleeping" vibe -- I'm surprised they didn't go for a backwards guitar solo in the tune itself, though it does pop up briefly at the end. Might've been too on the nose to have featured it any more than they did. "Shiny Cage" is another one on this album that sounds pretty much like XTC smothered in an added layer of 1960s just to fit the concept, but the song is very cool in its own right.
  10. Shiny Cage is a nice shiny Beatles knock-off, and a well executed one! 4/5
  11. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Shiny Cage
    A really superbly enjoyable song. Ridiculously catchy and melodic - although I think the outbreaks of mellotron/psychedelia are good they do feel a bit smashed in - maybe to fit the Dukes brief. Fortunately they don't really detract from what is a really good pop song. I guess my pattern might be that I somewhat prefer the straightforwardness of Colin's songs.

    Spot the influence: well yes, now that people have pointed it out, Revolver for sure but I don't know that it's a pastiche so much as being influenced. It's a bit of a fine line, semantics, but to me this song stands up by itself and I'm actually intrigued to know what it could have become on The Big Express.

  12. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Cage -- it's a good song with a good melody and captures "I'm Only Sleeping" very well. 4/5
  13. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    So Cal
  14. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    So Cal
    "Shiny Cage" is a nice pop song. I really like the guitar sounds. Nice vocal too. 4/5
  15. Saturns Pattern

    Saturns Pattern Forum Resident

    "You're My Drug": Incredibly, this was going to be the opening track of Psonic Psunspot before the sides were reversed. There's plenty that I like about the track - the vocal harmonies during the verses, the bridge from the verses to the choruses and the way the track phases on the word "drug", as well as the naff way that Partridge rhymes with "drug" with "beer from a jug" ... no, it's not my favourite Dukes track but I couldn't exactly call it the worst either, even if it's probably one of the least catchy.

    "Shiny Cage": You know, it makes sense hearing that Colin initially wrote this for The Big Express because - arrangement aside - melodically and lyrically this really seems cut from the same cloth as "I Remember the Sun" with that kinda almost-shuffly feel to it. One of those tracks that would have made an equal amount of sense done under the XTC name or the Dukes name.
  16. jimbutsu

    jimbutsu WATCH YÖUR STEPPE

    "Shiny Cage" is fun to listen to - it's not quite up to some of the best stuff on the Dukes records, but it's pleasant and it moves along nicely. It does feel a little all over the place to me, which I can't quite explain given that there's plenty of other stuff they've done that is objectively as all over the place as this where I don't feel it the same way...

  17. hvgrace

    hvgrace Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm feeling it.

    "Shiny Cage" used to blur into the second half of PSUNSPOT for me. I thought it was a pretty average Colin song, but, as with some other of these tracks, I'm enjoying it more under our microscope. It definitely feels like mid-late model XTC.

    Pairing his low-key caustic observations of class and shiftlessness with the mechanics of "I'm Only Sleeping?"-the icy strum, the pivot around the III chord, the little bass break, etc, is clever. And that bridge jump cutting in and out is very crafty and fun. The thing that's remarkable about "Sleeping" is the thick feeling of disassociation that hangs over it; how it's barely keeping a grip on reality as it jauntily shuffles along, and that's before the backwards guitars even arrive. It's a subtle blend and that's not really captured here. Maybe that's not what Colin intended for this glimpse of London boys' night out but it might have been interesting.

    "Shiny Cage" has a good melody and nice twists but it's a little cold in this setting. I wonder if it's living its best life in this costume. 3/5
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
  18. chickendinna

    chickendinna Homegrown’s All Right With Me

    Shiny Cage- Colin is mister dependable. He rarely if ever contributes a weak track. Cage is cloaked in Beatleisms and it works to its advantage. I get the I’m Only Sleeping reference as it’s melodic and it lopes along lazily. I really enjoy the factoids that come out of threads like this. This was written or worked on during The Big Express sessions, it makes sense as I could see it fitting on that that album. 4/5.
  19. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    I listened to Marc Caro's interview with Dave Gregory last night, and Dave mentioned his favorite album was Axis: Bold as Love, and now I'm really wishing they'd given that a go, but I guess Hendrix is probably less in Andy and Colin's wheelhouse than these other psychedelic artists.
  20. chickendinna

    chickendinna Homegrown’s All Right With Me

    Boy, I’d love to hear Dave take on something that like Hendrix Axis: Bold As Love inspired type of album . Even an instrumental release would be welcome from Dave. But, I agree Hendrix and Andy/Colin don’t mesh at all. They were more aligned with the English end of Sixties Psych.
  21. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    You're My Drug - My least favourite DoS song, so a 2/5
    Shiny Cage - That's more like it. 4/5
  22. jimbutsu

    jimbutsu WATCH YÖUR STEPPE

    Who among us is, really?
    SMRobinson, KangaMom, hvgrace and 2 others like this.
  23. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    "Shiny Cage" - This is the better Beatle moment on the album, with a jaunty, jaundiced mood. Nice tasteful guitar solo (sounds more Andy than Dave but I've been wrong before.) I agree that this sounds more XTC than Dukes, but that's kind of the album as a whole. It's kind of a shame that they didn't include it on The Big Express, because it would've fit in well there, or at least as a b-side, between "Washaway" and "Red Brick Dream". 4/5
  24. nedison

    nedison Peter Blegvad's #1 Fan

    Shiny Cage

    In another life, The Big Express would have been a 50/50 split between Andy and Colin tracks and a TRUE Ray Daviesesque concept album about life in Swindon. If this, Washaway and (fudging a bit here) The Meeting Place had been included on this hypothetical Rusting North Star album it would be hailed as their 'lost masterpiece'!

    One of Colin's last attempts at somewhat acidic vocals before settling into his more 'adult contemporary' mode vocal quality on final run of XTC albums.

    To my ears, this is the closest The Dukes ever got to sounding like Martin Newell and The Cleaners From Venus!

  25. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    Totally. Martin's probably got 25 songs that sound exactly like this.

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