There should be a warning label on any CD with lyrics like "you and the clouds will still be beautiful." You wouldn't expect such trite expressions from a band like XTC, which has made a living for more than two decades by mixing clever wordplay with Beatlesque melodies. But remaining members Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding somehow twist the ordinary into some creative moments on "Wasp Star," the band's 12th record.
Take "In Another Life," for example. It's a bouncy, midtempo song that Moulding wrote about the fairy-tale things he and his wife could do to recapture their marital bliss. No big deal, unless you realize that the cause of their problems is his wife's agoraphobia.
Mostly, though, "Wasp Star" celebrates guitar power-pop and, in "Stupidly Happy," "We're All Light" and "Playground," the giddiness of living in a world we'll never quite understand. It's a theme XTC knows well. Thank-fully, they haven't worn it out.