Cope: Black Sheep

The arch drude is amongst us again and he wants us to listen up.

I have dutifully done so for the past three weeks or so and things are looking good from down Avebury way. Black Sheep continues Cope’s return to songs with hooks and melodies and thus picks up where 2007’s You Gotta Problem With Me left off. There’s still a hangover from Brain Donor’s heretical rock n’ dirge here and there, but Black Sheep reveals that Cope has still got a pop sensibility running round that angry and Nixie infested brain of his.

Being a Cope fan can be hard work. For me he’s like one of those old mates who will always be part of your life, but you don’t see very often and there are times when you have to forgive them for doing things you disagree with or that make them look like an arse. Yet such mates can reward you for their loyalty when they come up with gifts like this.

Lyrically, we’re on familiar megalithic ground – extended rants against organized/patriarchal religion, a celebration of all that is pagan and Odin inspired, interspersed with his idiosyncratic Blake-esque visions. Much of the bombast could border on the fundamentalism that he so despises in other faiths, but the wit of the delivery is very persuasive. It has to be said though that this wit seems to be lacking in subtlety at times as the years advance: case in point, CD2 Track 1, the snappily titled ‘All The Blowing Themselves Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Suckers)’. Still, with the pop hooks, the Mellotrons and the guitars that sound like a heathen version of the Stooges, you find yourself smiling and thinking he might just have a point.

Cope seems to have taken up his belief in the Isle of Man being the psychic centre of the UK with many of the band images featuring triskelions on big drums (something that is bound to please me colleague). And an album that has a contributor called Big Nige (“law council & blasphemous movie division”) is worth checking out surely?

It’s not quite Jehovakill or the utter genius of Ye Skellington Chronicles, but it’s up there with 20 Mothers, Interpreter, Autogeddon et al.

It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now

Psychedelic Odin

All The Blowing Themselves Up Motherf*ck*rs (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Suckers)

Get heretical here or here.



About angrybonbon

Both Bars On's Manchester correspondent

Posted on September 29, 2008, in Album reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Fantastic. He really is a one-stop shop for all your damned knowledge needs, isn’t he? I have fond memories of him doing a reading for ‘Antiquarian’ in faux leopardskin pants, telling us that archaeology was the new rock ‘n’ roll.

  2. I saw him do the same and I’ll never forget it, in a similar way to seeing him speak at the opening of a Blake exhibition in Manc recently – he spoke after a respected and grey academic so he was always on a winner.

  3. I’m so out of touch with the pulse of popular culture that JC can release a new album and I can remain oblivious, until now, so thank you Bon, I’ve ordered it direct from the Drude this morning.

    I saw him on the Antiquarian reading tour a couple of times, once in fairly straightforward Avebury chic, and on another occasion with a dress code best described as Gene Simmons vs. Odin. I had a short but very excitable conversation about rock art; I’d found some arrow shaped marks on a hill near Edinburgh, and he was intrigued. Weeks later I discovered they were 19th century markings made by the army when they had carried out the first Ordnance Survey…

    He’s one of my heroes; Reward was the first single I ever bought; and I got the opportunity to do a bit of fan worship when he did an in store PA at my old HMV when Interpreter came out. I’ve still got his plectrum somewhere. I managed to shame myself by bringing up the subject of Bill Drummond; the depths of Cope’s disdain for that man know no bounds, and he’s still obsessing about him on the Address Druidion.

    Anyway, looking forward to getting my copy next week, so cheers for the heads up.

  4. Glad to be of service Mike. Was the plectrum shaped like a megalith?

  5. Rock art and art rock – something for everyone!

  6. Bon, the plectrum was more obelisk than megalith, but it was grey. I’m utterly loving the ‘All those blow themselves up…’ track. First class Copey honours in lunacy, and hopefully he’s magickally protected by the sacred circle of Avebury from any West Country fundamentalists.

  7. Yes, those exploding pasties can be hard to get out of fake leopardskin

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