Julian Cope

Droolian

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AllMusic Review by

Even more of an odd one-off than Skellington, Droolian is another 30-minute collection of random fun from the Cope files, in this case taken from a Skinner-produced session in Liverpool. Like Skellington, it was also released via the Zippo label as an end runaround of Island, but under even more curious circumstances. The album was designed to raise funds for psych legend Roky Erickson, then facing jail time in Texas, so it was in fact only released in that state with a bold "FREE ROKY ERICKSON" logo on the back cover. One further similarity with Skellington is that Droolian clearly foreshadows Cope's imminent masterpiece Peggy Suicide -- one of that album's best moments, the epic "Safesurfer," appears here in a shorter, murkier edit that still has much of the intensity of the later take. Another song, "Commin' Down," actually reappears from Skellington in a rougher take here. Cope's quirky liner notes, mixing the silly and serious as he so often does, talk about most of the contents of Droolian. It ranges from the hair gel and Carl Jung letter that inspired the sweet, slightly Suicide/Spacemen 3 sounding keyboard drone and twinkle of "Jellypop Perky Jean" to his intentionally rough semi-country-blues tribute to deceased Echo and the Bunnymen drummer Pete DeFreitas, "Louis 14th." The demo-level sound of much of the album -- all percussion comes from drum machines, light keyboards fill out the arrangements -- suits the casual, relaxed atmosphere, but Cope himself is again in excelsis, his strong singing and speaking parts exactly what the doctor ordered. There's whispery, low-key moodiness on "Look After Your Leathers," a barbed, hilarious spoken word number with music rip into the myth of the Artiste, there's a recounting of a strange spiritual experience on "...Atonement of Wasp," and much goodness in between.

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