Julian Cope

Dark Orgasm

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In a way, you should be thankful. After what seemed ages, Julian Cope finally returned to releasing song-based albums, and two in one year, at that. But whereas Citizen Cain'd sounded under-produced but rocked harder than anything else in his catalog, Dark Orgasm barely ups the production, and falls flat on its face in the rock & roll department. Things that are most endearing to long-time Cope fans (for example, a sense for melodic pop, or his unique and beautiful voice) are A.W.O.L. on this album. There's nothing even close to a pop song present. Cope sings in a '70s-metal sneer (think Thin Lizzy or the Guess Who), which may be the type of singing that his voice is most unsuited for. An evocative instrument becomes here an annoying whinny. "Nothing to Lose Except My Mind" is indicative of the problems with this record. For unexplained reasons, crowd noise (massive, at that) is grafted onto the track. Guitars are turned very low in the mix, the bass is muddied, and the vocals are barely understandable. If the intent was to match the fidelity on mid-career Led Zeppelin, then it achieves its goal. Artistic intent or not, once the novelty has worn off, its just not a good song. Perhaps, with more work and an outside producer, it could have been turned into something great. Because there are seeds of a great song here. But no. These opportunities are missed at every infuriating turn. It's not all bad, though. Like any of Cope's solo albums, there are usually some diamonds hidden among the tracks. Dark Orgasm's great track is "I've Found a New Way to Love Her," which manages to harness a lo-fi production urge and contain classic Cope melodies. The Mellotron samples that appear in this song at loud volume continue to bring a smile to the face after repeated listening. And then there's "The Death and Resurrection Show," which occupies the entirety of the completely unnecessary second disc in the set. For 21 minutes, Cope and band embrace their prog rock tendencies and bash through a multi-part suite that sounds as if Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey" had lyrics. How you process this will determine your enjoyment of the album.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick