Julian Cope


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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett

What turned out to be the last Cope solo album (at least under his own name) of the '90s, before he embarked on a series of other musical projects along with continuing his archaeological research, was another wiggy, involved collection of musical highs. If anything can be said about Cope's activity in the mid-'90s, it's that he sounds like a man on a mission, but determined to have fun as he goes. Certainly the opening track is one of his most upbeat and fun ever, "I Come From Another Planet, Baby." His vocal similarity to David Bowie is a bit surprising, but he's obviously having delicious fun singing the lyrics in an exaggeratedly "English" style. Thighpaulsandra once again helps produce, arrange, and perform, creating a string-laden, full-bodied sound for the entire album, while Cosby turns in some of his best drumming ever. About ten other guests pop up throughout, and the result is an adventurous, fun romp, with the atmosphere often recalling such lush and beautiful Cope numbers as "An Elegant Chaos." Sometimes it gets completely nutty: "s.p.a.c.e.r.o.c.k. with me" takes its cue from the likes of Amon Düül II, with guest singer Lynn Davies contributing what Cope himself calls "outrageous Diva vocals." Cope's message is far from lost; two of his sharpest slams turn up next to each other halfway through. The gloriously garage trashy "Cheap New-Age Fix," as one can guess from the title, seems to slyly slam wannabe poseurs taking away from his rather more intense focus on heathen studies and environmentalism in many forms. The glammy epic "The Battle for the Trees," meanwhile, celebrates an organized protest against development near the English town of Newbury that occurred shortly before the album's recording. The elaborate packaging and artwork contain everything from a "mythological mind map" of Cope's surroundings in the Marlborough Downs to any number of righteous political and social quotes.

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