Julian Cope: Revolutionary Suicide (Head Heritage/Southbound)

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Julian Cope: Paradise Mislaid
Julian Cope: Revolutionary Suicide (Head Heritage/Southbound)

When Julian Cope emerged in the late Seventies/early Eighties as the singer-writer with the often thrilling and melodramatic Liverpool band Teardrop Explodes, few could have guessed -- perhaps not even Cope himself -- what a life he would make for himself.

He has written knowledgeably and with passion on Krautrock and Japanese rock, was very early on an advocate for the rediscovery of Scott Walker, has produced books on Britain and Europe's prehistoric stone circles, and has kept up a musical career which has embraced prog-rock, Nordic mythology, heavy metal, Anglofolk, cosmic psychedelics and his own blender-prepared philosophies.

He is nothing if not interesting. And often sounds furious but addled, although he's in no doubt what he's on about.

Which means most lost track of him some time back, many would find it difficult to locate an entry point this late in the game and this particular album (named for Black Panther's Huey Newton's autobiography) isn't going to offer itself up easily. Not when it is a double album which opens with the lengthy Hymn to the Odin, includes three poems in the cover, has a piece which is a vehement criticism of Islam and closes with a song entitled Destroy Religion.

He poses on the cover with an AK-47.

So far, so revolutionary and also quite bonkers in places. His piece Why Did the Chicken Cross My ind? is part spoken-word, what seems to be stream-of-consciousness (so it's hard to follow what it's about) and The Armenian Genocide is a strident piece about exactly that, but bends under the weight of its own torturous emotions and stentorian righteousness.

Everyone is in here somewhere -- from Hitler to Holden Caufield -- but it is very hard to like, or even admire.

He's out on a his own and probably cares not a jot for what anyone says.

Despite his best efforts, whatever revolution he is aiming for it will remain in his head. 

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