on 25 October 2013
You really should listen to this big bad Beowulf of a Coprehensive classic album. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you think and if you have not listened to any other Julian Cope albums I suggest it will set you off to search through his back catalogue for more - and if so I envy you on the untold riches you are yet to unearth!
This album is split into two discs, one featuring three songs (and some very long ones) and the other eight songs so there is a lot of material here for you to digest, too much for one or two listens. As you would expect if you have listened to Julian's material in recent years, this is not an album which will go down well with greedheads, killcrazy tyrants or religious extremists. As usual, the Archdrude follows his Muse, mixing a strange variety of sounds and noises, combining thunder and rain, nursery rhyme, krautrock, folk, prog rock, catchy choruses and whatever else strikes him as necessary to the overall picture. In this album you can suddenly come across Stonehenge, Dinky Toys, Armenian Massacres, Neville Chamberlain, Peterloo and Odin's mead hall and Julian certainly has a sense of humour. However the main emotion on this album is one of red rage - anger for injustices past and present. The centre pieces are probably The Armenian Genocide and Destoy Religion - two long, sprawling furious epics but the first is surprisingly poignant and sensitively handled. Why Did The Chicken Cross My Mind? is a great title for a great song which challenges the cowardly kowtowing of this spineless century and is a clarion call for activism in the face of totalitarian forces which want to drive us back from the space age to the bronze age.
Old fans of the Teardrop Explodes will know however that Julian is capable of crafting songs of great beauty and there are some killer harmonies and melodies on this album alongside the superb tribal drum sound and the biting guitars. Julian is in great voice and full of confidence. In an alternative universe catchy songs like Revolutionary Suicide and Paradise Mislaid would be shooting up the charts of alternative pop-pickers. Mexican Revolution Blues and Russian Revolution Blues follow these two numbers on Disc Two, full of typical Cope arch historical references to the likes of Lennon and McCartney, sorry, I mean Lenin and McCarthy. They Were On Hard Drugs clearly has a message but is also very funny, as is In His Cups, full of maudlin self-pity. Phoney People, Phoney Lives with its experimental noises leads into the aforementioned Destroy Religion, the final track on this powerful double album.
On the front of this album, Julian refers to his classic album Peggy Suicide released 20 years ago. If you like this and don't have that album or its follow-up Jehovahkill, you should get them quick.
on 12 August 2014
Thank you world for giving us Julian Cope. His best album since, well since his last one. Brilliant, funny, sad, tuneful. Keep it up, That is all.