Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Julian Cope - Citizen Cain'd

Julian Cope is rock. In all the promotional interviews for Citizen Cain'd he was clearly stressing the point, like he'd something to prove. Citizen Cain'd is his first out-and-out rock'n'roll release since being freed by Island and ensconed on his own Head Heritage label. Citizen Cain'd taps into similar rock territory as his mindless metal trio Brain Donor, eschewing the wayward psychedelic pop music of Interpreter, his last proper release in 1996.

Disc One is all heavy guitar riffing borrowing heavily from the Stooges, MC5 and the Seeds. The lyrics to 'Hell Is Wicked' namechecks a number of Gods before finishing on a lyric that could feature on any Pagan / Shaman inspired post-industrial release: "Great Serpent Mother round the world you coil, Unleash your salty seas upon the soil." At the same time it adopts the piano stabs of the Stooges 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. The squealing guitar freakout of 'I Can't Hardly Stand It' echoes the MC5, and is all the better for it. 'I'm Living In The Room They Found Saddam In' is evidence of his trickster spirit.

Disc one clearly rocks with a spirit that would please pagans and shamans but it's all rather unsatisfying and you can't help feeling that this is merely a parody.

The second disc opens with 'Feels Like A Crying Shame' mixing reflective Cope with pagan mythologising of the Arch Drude. It's here Citizen Cain'd really picks up where Cope revives the stoner groove and fried pop sounds that he is renowned for.'World War Pigs' features a beautiful vocal over acoustic guitars gently building into a singalong refrain with spiralling/sprawling lead guitar.'Stomping Dionysus' is tender bliss in the manner of 'Jellypop Perky Jean' with melodica. It's followed by 'Homeless Strangers', a brief cut reminiscent of Neil Young. 'The Living Dead' is a cultural collision pitting the dumbed down Western reality television culture against the life affirming values of the people of war torn Armenia. Force fed or borne of neccesity, Cope makes his stand proclaiming I will not represent the living dead. 'Edge of Death' is positively fried.

Harper Collins recently published The Megalithic European: The 21st Century Traveller In Prehistoric Europe, the follow-up to The Modern Antiquarian, Cope's revered gazeteer of megalithic tombs that he's visited, catalogued and provided commentary. Compulsion online caught Cope on his book tour for The Megalithic European and while his take on these stone megaliths occassionally lapses into feminine and mother earth territory you can't fault his unending passion for these ancient sites which he is compelled to share with the public. His enthusiasm for Odin (he entertained audiences at the British Museum over two nights) has generated much interest in one of the most misconstrued of the Norse Gods. He's an entertaining public speaker (he could make a career on the shamanistic after dinner circuit if such a thing exists) and while his books are poured over by academia he regards himself as a rock'n'roller. The black sunglasses and beard he was sporting on the book tour only underlines the fact.

I was intrigued by the packaging which appears reminiscent of former World Serpent artists such as Coil and Death In June. A solid black jewel case encased in a box with megalithic structures. The booklet contains the lyrics rendered in stark black and white with monochrome visuals. A Mithras symbol proudly hangs above a solid wood door to which Cope's metal guitars rest.

Citizen Cain'd is patently flawed and pales when compared to much of his back catalogue but it's wildly entertaing and he's one of a handful of living English eccentrics so it's good to have him back. Citizen Cain'd and a whole host of goods from this one man cottage industry is available from