Julian Cope, 'Rome Wasn't Burned in a Day' album review by Richard Foster

"“Shrine of the Black Youth”, crashes into the room; all yowling and tremolo feedback"

"Shrine of the Black Youth", crashes into the room; all yowling and tremolo feedback; then settles down to an extended paeon to an Armenian deity known as Tukh Malukh; quite uplifting and beautiful in a strung out, meditative way. Then we're off again, sandblasted by guitar, leading to a definite almighty conclusion. Yes! My favourite artist to review, and it's off to a flyer. I have to admit that I was nervous, especially after the relative disappointment of Brain Donor, (great tunes let down by lazy production), but the great thing about Copey is that he never allows you to second guess as to what he's up to. I'll tell you what, though, I'll save any Cope theories for now. On with the music, eh kids?


Starting with a gentle rain shower, "Zennor Quoit" is a wonderful, catchy, personal, sing song ballad. Its one of those songs that Julian Cope regularly seems to drag from some general sub-conscious brain bank; "Pristeen", "Me Singing"; the list is endless. The same is true of "Let Love In", a beautifully simple and insistent guitar lick, gradually building up to a stomping crescendo; almost like a hot air balloon "Street Fighting Man", but with no pissy Jagger hang ups. "King Minos" sounds like a musical introduction to a Stone Age football match played in some vast and ancient Hungarian stadium, (waxing somewhat am I not?) and is the perfect full stop to the first three tracks of the lp. "Dance By the Light of The Bridges You Burn" keeps the up- tempo thrash going and,  incidentally, introduces us to the Sons of T.C. Lethbrige, a band of Cope associates who, on this hearing sound pretty damned inspiring. Anyone who has heard of, or read of, T.C. Lethbridge, (as indeed the song asks), will jump round the room to this; fantastic shouted choruses reminding you of some teenage cider party in a barn.


"Michelle of My Former Self". How do I tell you of this song? No, I'll say that again, how do I tell you how fucking cool this song is? Well, a beautiful broken down '50s Sedan draws slowly to rest; an explanation is given  as to why this stately wagon is to be left to rust gently by a dusty roadside, and then a chiming guitar riff reveals a gorgeous desert sunset. Honestly, that's how it sounded to me. And it's only about two and a half minutes long.


With "Far Out" we're back to a simple strummed Cope melody; silly lyrics and cheerful whistling, preparing us for the zeitgeist inducing groove that is "Eccentrifugal Force" a true, wailing pulsating blend of Sly Stone and Iggy. In fact, I reckon only Tarot's "Die Welt" gives this track a run for its money. And, furthermore m'lud, it glides on for twenty fucking minutes. A fantastic summer soundtrack for punting down canals methinks.