Title - 'Kilimanjaro: Deluxe Edition' (Ume)
Artist - The Teardrop Explodes
The Teardrop Explodes were an English post-punk/neo-psychedelic band formed in Liverpool in 1978. Furtherm their odd name was actually taken from a panel in the Marvel Comics' 'Daredevil' #77. To say that The Teardrop Explodes were one of the most underrated, and sadly overlooked bands of the early eighties is one of the biggest understatements ever uttered in this business.
And as much as the band members changed almost with every album, formed by Julian Cope, he had also previously been in the short-lived band Crucial Three - along with Pete Wylie, who went on to form Wah!, and with Ian McCulloch, later of Echo & the Bunnymen!
The trumpet opening of 'Ha Ha I'm Drowning' welcomes us into this near 40 minute first disc, the original A and B side run of debut album, 'Kilimanjaro' (1980). This is why I loved Teardrop because Julian Cope's vocals were clear, were unrushed, and the musical backdrop was always pop-fused.
Trust me, as Cope started to lose the plot, and the band disbanded, things got less pop and more, well, ... flawed!
The bouncy 'Sleeping Gas' is next with the still-to-this-day unattached main lyric of, "I just wander around, you can watch rafferty turn into a serial." Their brilliant third (UK) single release, 'Treason' is next, which actually broke the UK Top 20 Singles Chart when re-released in 1981. 'Second Head' is next and is followed by the catchy 'Poppies in the Field' ("The poppies are in the field, but don't ask me what that means.").
The fast-paced, and yet criminally short 'Went Crazy' is next and what a great track (still) this is. That is followed by the trippy 'Brave Boys Keep Their Promises,' which still comes across very confessional. The addictive 'Bouncing Babies' is next, and actually inspired a tribute song of its own: 'I Can't Get Bouncing Babies by the Teardrop Explodes' by The Freshies!
The album cut 'Books' (a song written by both Cope and Echo vocalist Ian McCullough, and even featured on Bunnymen’s debut, Crocodiles under the expanded title of 'Read It In Books') is followed by the poetic 'Thief of Baghdad.' The final cut on the album is the highly infectious, and near seven minutes long, 'When I Dream' - which actually received some airplay on progressive radio in the U.S., introducing the band to new fans over here.
Well, bless my cotton socks, the second disc, entitled Bates Motel runs at just over 50 minutes and kicks off with the always brilliant, always listenable, always horn frantic, 'Reward.' Primarily consisting of rare B-sides and early versions of 'Kilimanjaro' tracks, next up is 'Sleeping Gas' and the trippy 'Camera Camera.' That's followed by the haunting, steel worker-infused instrumental 'Kirby Workers Dream Fades' and 'Bouncing Babies.'
The (kinda) spoken-word 'All I Am Is Loving You' (the very same that keeps repeating the words, "All I ever seem to do is wander around" creeps up next, before the always-excellent 'Treason' is upon us. The album cut 'Books' is next, before the debut album's hypnotic title track 'Kilimanjaro' is brought forth - which begs the question of as the album was called that, why wasn't it ever included on the album?!
The musically-fascinating, almost Peanuts-inspired intro of 'Strange House In The Snow' is next, followed by the near-seven minute acoustic, 'Use Me,' and then a wickedly fun French version of 'Treason' ('Traison, C'est Juste Une Histoire'). The last of the thirteen tracks contained on this second disc is a wonderfully caught-live 10 minute version of 'Sleeping Gas' - although Cope falsely intro's it as, 'Hey Hey, What's That Sound.' Recorded at Club Zoo on December 22nd in 1981 it should also be known that this song features a 'face solo' ... don't ask!
The third disc of this incredible collection, BBC Sessions is live versions all recorded in the BBC studios. Running for just under half an hour, the eleven cuts were recorded between 1979-1980 and include live (studio) versions of most all the songs we've discussed above. Plus songs such as 'Chance,' 'Suffocate,' 'For Years,' culminating with one of their most obscure of their cuts, 'The Great Dominions.'
And as for the packaging, well, it's lovely, and nice to handle. Weirdly though, the only written lyrics in the package are from 'Went Crazy' - but then again, that kind of makes sense in its own right also, I guess!
CD Purchase Link