There are not many of the original English punk/new wavers of the late '70s still active in the new millennium, let alone still making great music. The majority of Wasp Star stands up to their past oeuvre, mixing the rhythmic dramatics of Black Sea with the urban spaciousness of The Big Express. Whittled down to a duo of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, XTC has aged well. Wasp Star is really the second disc of the original double CD Apple Venus. Recorded together, but separated into volume one and two, this set of songs are both stripped down (compared to the strings-laden songs from AV 1) and a bit more upbeat. Partridge is at his reflective/intuitive best with the opening track "Playground" that depicts schools as a training ground for cruel adults , while Moulding chips in a couple great tunes including the subversive relationship ditty, "Standing In For Joe."