Sunday, January 14, 2007

albums of the day

Two more for my inadvertent "great forgotten albums of the 1990s" collection.

Doppelganger by Curve.

I think I eulogised at some length about Toni Halliday in an earlier post, so I won't go on too much here. This is an excellent proto-industrial rock album, though, very much in the vein of people who would come along later and make it big, most obviously Garbage.

If there's a complaint it's that it's all a bit one-paced, which I suppose is another way of saying that most of the songs sound very similar, but in a good way: thunderous drum machine and bass backing, grinding guitar and sultry female vocals all buried in a rather muddy trademark early-90s production (though to be fair the producer Alan Moulder was having a relationship with Toni Halliday at the time, so it wouldn't be totally surprising if his mind wasn't fully on the job - mine wouldn't have been). Standout tracks are Horror Head and particularly the pulverising Ice That Melts The Tips. Shirley Manson was obviously listening closely.

Peggy Suicide by Julian Cope.

Say what you like about Julian Cope, but he is completely bonkers. This doesn't always manifest itself in a good way, musically speaking, but the twin concerns of man's destruction of the environment and Margaret Thatcher's destruction of Britain focused his mind enough to produce this wildly eclectic and sprawling double album. Like many double albums it's a bit patchy, and the best songs are concentrated in the first half of the album, but there's no arguing with the first 8 songs from Pristeen to Drive, She Said in particular. The withering anti-Thatcher diatribe Promised Land, the 8-minute psychedelic guitar epic Safesurfer and the nearly-hit single Beautiful Love are the best things here, but it's all the product of an endearingly unhinged mind.

This is another one that's absurdly cheap on Amazon: £4.97 again. It's almost more expensive not to buy it.

Fascinating Julian Cope fact #1: my friend Clare and her friends used to stalk him when he lived in Tamworth in the mid-1980s. Luckily he was probably too whacked out of his gourd to notice.

Fascinating Julian Cope fact #2: he has published a couple of well-received and only slightly bonkers books on ancient Stone Age sites of interest, The Modern Antiquarian and The Megalithic European, and he currently lives near Avebury.

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