Released in 1980, Kilimanjaro marked the emergence of musical genius Julian Cope. From the opening strains of Ha Ha I'm Drowning it's clear that a special talent is at work here. Perhaps not fully realized yet but the lyrics and arrangements still sound fresh and innovative after all these years.
The themes revolve around relationships as in the lament Sleeping Gas with its striking drone infusions and Treason which is characterized by tempo changes and vocal variation. Reward might have been the first single; this is a mid tempo track with an impressive quirky texture.
The trumpets and swirling orchestral arrangement make Went Crazy stand out while the appeal of Brave Boys Keep Their Promises lies in the bouncy rhythm. Another highlight, the uptempo and urgent Thief of Baghdad has a fuller sound than the rest and a mood of intensity whilst the spacious feel of When I Dream concludes the album on an atmospheric note.
If there's a flaw, it might be that despite the aforementioned strong points and innovations, the album initially leaves an impression of sameness, i.e. it is difficult to remember individual songs. Julian Cope's crowning achievement was of course the solo album Peggy Suicide, a multi-layered masterpiece.