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.