Julian Cope

The Followers of Saint Julian

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The cleverly titled Followers is a boon for hardcore Cope fanatics, collecting a wide range of B-sides, rarities, and random tracks from his early Island Records days. Nearly everything has something to do with the Saint Julian album and the accompanying tours, thus its title. While more casual Cope followers won't need it, those especially interested in Cope's completely gone side of his music will consider this manna. In contrast to the sometimes too clean parts of Saint Julian itself, Cope here goes all out in several different directions at once, foreshadowing the wide range of approaches that would define his work in the '90s. Opening cut "Transporting," a "World Shut Your Mouth" B-side, is as chaotic as one could hope for, with squalling noises, a completely weird mix that keeps changing, and general production goofiness abounding. "Transporting" reappears in another version later, with a variety of interview snippets scattered throughout the mix -- there are a couple of wonderfully awkward moments preserved. The calmer demo tracks "Mock Turtle" and the weirdly stentorian "Warwick the Kingmaker" show him in gently ruminative mode, creating winsome music without sounding overly precious. Another demo-level track, or so it sounds -- "Almost Beautiful Child (I & II)" -- has him flexing instrumental muscles with a piano-led number accompanied by the odd moan or two. A few remixes surface on Followers -- while some are fairly anonymous, "World Shut Your Mouth" gets a work-over courtesy of D.C. go-go legends Trouble Funk. They leave a fair chunk of the song exactly as is, but have some fun stripping things down to bass and drums here and there. Two covers -- solid run-throughs of the 13th Floor Elevators' "Levitation" and Pere Ubu's "Non-Alignment Pact" -- and good live versions of Saint Julian's "Pulsar" and "Shot Down" help to fill out the corners.

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