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"20 Mothers", however, is an album which actually lives up to the Copemyth and shows that all he really represents is good, simple songwriting.Consciously harking back to his career-defining 1991 album "PeggySuicide", the album is divided into 'phases' and comes with a booklet ofarguments as opposed to lyrics. Its longer running time and looser feelmay make the album less focused than "Peggy Suicide", but it isnonetheless a solid collection.
In keeping with his environmentalist, spiritual ethos (the title andpackaging celebrate community and family), Cope's songs are more folky androots-based than anything he has done before. He is still not afraid totake a few left turns along the way, as with the synth-pop of "Just LikePooh Bear" or the heavy psych-blues of "Don't Take Roots", but most of thetime the sound combines reflective pop music with hypnotic psychedelia.
So we get Grateful Dead-meet-the-Beatles on "Adam & Eve Hit The Road",swirly Krautrock on "Greedhead Detector" and the hook-filled classic "Try,Try, Try". There are less immediate moments than on his previous albums,but repeated listening does pay off as the individual strengths of eachsong come to the fore. The songwriting is surprisingly solid in fact, withonly "By The Light Of The Silbury Moon" not really clicking.Read more ›
Worth buying for the first track alone which Syd Barrett would've been proud of.
Lone single, 'Try Try Try' is just about the catchiest pop song Cope has produced since his Teardrop Explodes days and I often find myself unable to stop singing the chorus once I've played this. Don't let that fool you, however, as 'Try' is by far and away the most commercial track here. This said, the song itself is not the happiest of ditties reportedly about Cope's strained relationship with his mother. There are a number of personal /community related songs on 20 Mothers and the gentle, 'I'm Your Daddy' is a short delight as are the two excellent tracks that end the album, the anthemic 'Road Of Dreams' and moody, brooding and thought provoking, 'When I Walk Through The Land Of Fear'.
Other more 'druidy' songs are also a delight. Take 'Stone Circles And You' for example or opener 'The Wheelbarrow Man' both are bright, cheery almost 'light relief' songs and I also love the wistful 'I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud'. 'Senile Get' is catchy but controversial and 'Don't Take Roots' more a repetitive chant than a whole song. There's an element of an artist 'doodling' here sometimes though as with the disappointing, loud, whispered, shouted and muttered, 'By The Light Of The Silbury Moon' and the similarly rocky 'Greedhead Detector' but overall Cope keeps his focus well throughout and the album works all the better for it as an album listen.
To my mind, in spite of its occasionally sloppy moments, '20 Mothers' is essential Julian Cope and I would not want to be without it. Hopefully, if you can learn to live with its lyrical and musical twists and turns you will feel the same way about it as well one day.
Buy it, play it, play it again, rejoice that you own it.
One of the Archdrude's greatest works. Whichever period of his discography caught your attention and brought you here, if you are reading reviews, you simply need to hear this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No Time for lengthy review.
This CD is a Jamboree of unfocused and incomplete Cope doodles. Read more
That's about as concise as I can be about this colossally meandering album from the great ArchDrude himself. Read morePublished on 2 July 2008 by 9ftneil