Friday, February 21, 2014

Julian Cope - World Shut Your Mouth

Following the break-up of the band Teardrop Explodes, English singer-songwriter Julian Cope started working on a solo album. The result was World Shut Your Mouth which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this month. The 1984 release peaked at number 40 on the UK charts.

Cope played rhythm guitar, bass, organ and drum machine as well as provided the vocals. Steve Lovell played lead guitar and sitar. Kate St. John is on oboe. Gary Dwyer was on drums.

Side one begins with "Bandy's First Jump". I like the 60's pop flavor to this one.

"Metranil Vavin" too has a trippy sound to it. I like the change ups in rhythm; at points you can even hear the instruments shifting gears which leads to a very cool effect. Cope has gone on record to say that it was inspired by a Russian dwarf poet by a similar name.

"Strasbourg" is next, followed by "An Elegant Chaos" and then "Quizmaster".

The first half closes with "Kolly Kibbler's Birthday" whose opening guitar riff is hypnotic.

Side two starts with "Sunshine Playroom". As the first single, it went to number 64 in the UK. This one completely went a different direction than I expected after the music box like opening.

"Head Hang Low" has a melancholy mood to it.

I like the playful bounce to the keyboards on "Pussyface".

"The Greatness and Perfection of Love", the second single, went to number 52 in the UK. I counted five rhythm changes on this one from start to finish, but the way they are done actually works well.

The original vinyl release wraps up with "Lunatic and Fire-Pistol", a soldier's somber tale. The organ gives it a reverent, church sound.

If you are like me and had not heard this album before (this was my first time listening to it), you may be wondering where the title song is. Actually, the confusion is understood; the song "World Shut Your Mouth" actually appears on his 1987 album Saint Julian.

World Shut Your Mouth is one of those records that I just did not completely get upon first listen. Cope's lyrics are complex pieces of poetry that clearly require multiple visits to decipher their meanings. Overall, I enjoyed the music well enough though, so a return visit is a good probability.

1 comment:

HERC said...

HERC can't cop to lovin' Cope pop until hearing the single "World Shut Your Mouth" which weirdly isn't on the album World Shut Your Mouth.

First heard it on The Island Story double disc from 1987 then picked up the Saint Julian album. Punky power-pop is what I heard.