Julian Cope

Leper Skin: An Introduction to Julian Cope

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Part of Island Records' often-handy "An Introduction To" series, 1999's Leper Skin: An Introduction to Julian Cope only covers Julian Cope's 1986 to 1992 output, from "World Shut Your Mouth" (the hard-rocking, stomping 1986 single, not the 1984 album of the same title) to Jehovahkill. (For anomaly's sake, the Teardrop Explodes' "Books" is thrown in as well.) This limits its appeal somewhat, as these are the four albums that the average Julian Cope fan is most likely to have and there are no rare or unreleased tracks to be found here. It's also a bit odd to listen to in one go, since this era includes both his most commercial music ("Trampoline," "Charlotte Anne") and some of his strangest (just about everything from Jehovahkill, a Krautrock-influenced rant against organized religion and for ancient Druidic earth worship). It's not even a particularly good collection, as it's missing the transcendent "Beautiful Love," the centerpiece track from 1991's career high point, Peggy Suicide. Leper Skin might be OK for the curious newbie -- it does have "World Shut Your Mouth," arguably Cope's best song ever -- but Peggy Suicide remains the most representative starting point.

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