Julian Cope – Saint Julian (reissue, obviously!)
It’s difficult to imagine at such a remove, but this album represented a new Julian Cope. After the collapse of the Teardrops and two iffy solo albums, he was back. A cleaned-up, post-LSD, leather-trousered, rock god Julian Cope. OK, he did have a weird microphone stand thing going on, but that was just a gimmick. After the disappointment of the World Shut Your Mouth and Fried albums, Saint Julian was the fabled ‘return to form’. This was Julian Cope 2.0, before anyone knew what 2.0 meant. Great singles, ‘Trampolene’ and ‘World Shut Your Mouth’. Great album tracks, ‘Shot Down’, ‘Eve’s Volcano’. What could go wrong? Well, with the benefit of hindsight, we know all too well. Saint Julian was the high point of a solo career that didn’t so much go downhill as follow a series of rock’n’ roll ley lines to nowhere. But at least there was one great album in the can and now it’s been reissued with a whole extra disc of B-sides, remixes, and the rest. It’s dated pretty well. The drums are still annoying. Tinny and really high in the mix, they give some of the songs great pace, but they’re headache-inducing over 43 minutes. ‘Spacehopper’ sounds a little too juvenile now and ‘A Crack In The Clouds’ a little too serious. But most of the time the songs meet in the middle with great melodies and lots of energy. The extra disc is also worth a listen. ‘I’ve Got Levitation’, ‘Umpteenth Unnatural Blues’ and ‘Mock Turtle’ are well worth getting reacquainted with. It’s good to see Saint Julian back in circulation. After all, 1987 was a truly awful year in music. Strangeways merits a mention but even that was a bit of a disappointment. In less than two years everything would change for the better. And how.
Julian Cope official site (not for those with a faint heart)