If the 90s was Julian Cope’s Arch Drude era, for much of the 15 years covered by this compilation he’s been entrenched in his own self-sufficient cottage industry and morphing into the Grandbiker General, decked out in military cap, leather waistcoat, gauntlets and shades.
It reflects his shift away from shagging ley lines towards the more aggressive and anarchistic tone of Che Guevara-dedicated recent albums. His style still broadly remains experimental pastoral, though, and his concerns furiously Green Field: mythology, hallucinogens, global evils, historical re-enactments and mystical goings-on on hillocks.
When he isn’t (rather ominously) Raving On The Moor he’s hanging out with Al-Qaida on fuzz-folk ditty I’m Living In The Room They Found Saddam In or recounting the trippy tale of henge-constructing druids on Psychedelic Odin.
Culled from such albums as Citizen Cain’d, Dark Orgasm and Psychedelic Revolution, and mastered by one Holy McGrail, it might look at first glance like a century of self-parody, particularly when Cope’s arguing that the ancient architects of human history and endeavour were all spangled off their cheeseboards on They Were On Hard Drugs.
His tongue sounds deeply embedded in cheek throughout, but his dedication to his head activist ideology gives his music real impact. Julian In The Underworld traces the four months he spent as “salad with attitude” after taking an overdose of salvia in 2009.
The anti-terrorism rock’n’roll rag All The Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Suckers) and the acoustic Conspiracist Blues – in which Margaret Thatcher, Courtney Love and Madonna go over Niagara Falls without changing their self-serving spots in the face of death – are built on authentically righteous anger.
Dark, demented and manically mysterious, Cope’s brave olde world is a riot to explore, and Trip Advizer helps us surf the ley-links direct to the mother source./o:p