Julian Cope, one of rock's most interesting personalities, has for the most part been of more interest for being a drug-addled Druid-obsessed personality than for his music.
Though he claims his ouevre to be Krautrock-influenced modern psychedelia, what this debut amounts to (along with most of his subsequent albums) is shiny, bouncy 60's-influenced pop. Not that that's a bad thing mind - nearly all these songs feature catchy tuneage - and the core of drums / bass / guitar / keyboards is slathered with extra horns on practically half the tracks, for a bright colorful swirl that's brassy-poppy and soul-punchy.
It's catchily entertaining, if much more lightweight than Cope probably intended - his ripe baritone melodramatically bellowing lyrics that are perhaps meant to seem deep, but are easily discerned as little more than scribblings about teen romance appropriate to a boy barely out of his teens when the album was recorded. Comic books are all I read
Cope admits at one point, and I believe him.
is a refreshingly consistent and reasonably diverse debut, with each track standing out as individually memorable ...
"Second Head" and "Went Crazy" - with their bubbling basslines and tribal thumping - showcase the rhythm section effectively, while "Bouncing Babies" soars on a ethereally punchy keyboard ascent. And the opening "Ha Ha, I'm Drowning" has a horn section at its musical core.
"Treason" and "Sleeping Gas" are the obvious picks for A-sides, the former an urgently pleading pop number to a girl that Cope is confused about, the latter simply chronicling the confusion of a drug-induced euphoria, its title of course being a reference to nitrous oxide. "Treason" is bouncily melodic and heartachingly upbeat, while "Sleeping Gas" drifts prettily through a fade-in/fade-out haze.
Not all the songs register ... "Poppies in the Field" is snoozy and about guess what, and "Books" is rather hectoring. But there's a sleeper buried near the end of the album - "Thief of Baghdad" - full-on psuedo-psychedelica, psuedo-Oriental bliss.
is most likely the highlight of Cope's career, wherein the journey of 1,000 acid trips begins.Rated:
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
Posted: Saturday 22nd Sep 2018 9:56 AM
Although fans of Tir na Nog rate this - the duo's debut album - as highly as the follow-up A Tear and a Smile
, I'm not hearing it ...
For although this album's certainly a pleasant listen, it lacks the overall cohesiveness of A Tear and a Smile
, coming across more like a collection of oddments, as if the duo were at this point finding their bearings, and still developing what would later become their signature sound.
A Tear and a Smile
is vastly superior to this album across the board ... the melodies on that album are stronger (whereas some of the tunes here border on 'twee'), the arrangements more elaborate, the lyrics more engaging, and the vocals especially are more consistent, than most of what's on offer on Tir na Nog
Those factors are most apparent on "Boat Song", "Our Love Will Not Decay", and the closing "Dante", all tracks that - whilst melodically weaker - wouldn't sound out-of-place as good-quality filler on A Tear and a Smile
, whereas the rest of the material is all over the place in terms of arrangements, tempos, and vocal delivery.
In contrast, A Tear and a Smile
worked well because of its cohesiveness and consistency on all those points, but - although I'm not averse to variety on an album - Tir na Nog overstep that mark here, into the realm of 'diversity', which makes their debut sound more like an archival release of odds and ends.
And in a way, that was perhaps the case - a collection of songs written over an extended period, prior to the duo scoring a recording contract - and then all lumped together to make up an album. That's what it sounds like anyway, whereas A Tear and a Smile
would've been all-new material, freshly written of necessity specifically for a follow-up album.
So whilst Tir na Nog
is a promising debut - a 'fine as far as it goes' introduction to the duo's detailed acoustic guitar-work and folky melodies - it's no match for A Tear and a Smile
. To suggest the two albums are of anywhere near equal merit would indicate a fanboy's lack of discrimination. Rated:
by Reviewer: bluemoon
Posted: Saturday 22nd Sep 2018 3:31 PM