Self Civil War

Self Civil War

As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s always interesting when a new Julian Cope release emerges into the public domain, and with a new decade commencing, Cope introduces a new series of recordings entitled ‘Our Troubled times’ along with a new album Self Civil War.

For many, this is an album that’s been worth the wait after almost a decade of more ‘pastoral’ albums, which have been predominantly one-man projects, the short-lived Black Sheep and a side project Dope, which have been producing a flurry of albums of the past couple of years. Self Civil War is, in many ways, a return to the more band driven albums up to 2007s You Gotta Problem With Me, which Self Civil War is very reminiscent of, and after a few listens it feels like it would fit in perfectly as a follow-up album with the musical range on the album.

Replete with lo-fi Krautrock inspired rockers and folk ballads Self Civil War really covers Cope’s songwriting career over the past 40 years, including a rather brilliant reworking of The Teardrop Explodes’ Sleeping Gas, called Berlin Facelift. The more ballad and folk-based songs, You will be Mist, The Great Raven and Immortal really show that Cope hasn’t lost his strength as a songwriter over the years and highlights how genuinely talented a songwriter he can be when he’s truly influenced, I’ve always considered him over the past 25 years or so more an inspired Odinist than a revolutionary Rock ’n’ Roller.

I would love to say that Self Civil War is a ‘return to form’ for Julian Cope, but with someone whose career has always been ‘off-track’, it’s impossible to say what Julian’s form actually is, as there’s always some part of his career that appeals to different people. I will say, for those who may have drifted away from Julian’s music over the past few years to give this album a listen as there are plenty of great songs on there that will reinvigorate the soul.

•  Self Civil War by Julian Cope is available via Head Heritage (£12.99). To order a copy go to

Tom Stanger
Editor at Pilgrim House | Website | + posts

Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently undertaking a research degree at Bangor University and working on a book on Folklore and early Welsh Christianity. Tom’s other work on music, poetry, health along other writings and images can be found at


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *