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Joss Cope

Unrequited Lullabies

Gare du Nord Records

Released: 6th October 2017 | 12 track indie rock album

Joss Cope has a musical pedigree that goes back to the Liverpool post punk scene and early Creation Records. He's worked with his elder brother Julian, art directed videos, campaigned for Greenpeace, and played guitar and bass for a number of bands in recent years (Sgt Buzfuz and Dexter Bentley) before teaming up with some top Finnish musicians to make this debut solo record. The album was made in Helsinki with a band of musicians and friends who fuse together lilting atmospherics, quirky European psychedelia and the louche rock edge of The Only Ones or Wasted Youth. Socially and world-conscious songs are delivered with a twist of darkness and just the right amount of humour.

Born in the Midlands at the start of the swinging 60s, Joss Cope followed elder brother Julian to Liverpool aged 14 and got rapidly sucked in to the nascent post-punk scene there, meeting and playing with such future musical luminaries as Les Pattinson (Echo & the Bunnymen), Peter Wylie (Wah Heat) and Mike Mooney (Spiritualized).

He would go on to form the short-lived but influential Freight Train with Donald Ross Skinner and Barrett Douce (later of The Mighty Lemon Drops) before he moved to London in 1985 and became part of the emerging Creation Records scene, playing with Crash, The Weather Prophets, Rose McDowell and Biff Bang Pow before putting out two albums of his own work with Something Pretty Beautiful.

Joss also contributed to his brother Julian's albums Fried and St Julian, and co-wrote the songs Pulsar and Christmas Mourning with Julian and Donald Ross Skinner.

In 1991 he formed psych band The United States of Mind with Ashley Wood (Chemistry Set), Dave Morgan and Greenwood Goulding (Rockingbirds). Only one eponymously titled album of blistering British psychedelia was released on the appropriately titled DyscFunctional imprint, before the band split in 1994.

From the mid nineties to the noughties Joss art directed music videos for MTV, edited and voiced the BBC TV children's animated series Yoho Ahoy (2001) and, as a long term committed environmentalist, joined Greenpeace as an online producer to worked on key campaigns against overfishing, deforestation and airport expansion.

In more recent years he's played guitar with psychedelic soulsters Dexter Bentley and bass with Sergeant Buzfuz, as well as becoming inspired to write songs for himself again.

He spends part of each year in Finland with his current partner - cartoonist Virpi Oinonen - and in 2016 he began a collaboration with a trio of top Helsinki musicians: guitarist Veli-Pekka Oinonen (Nights of Iguana, Leningrad Cowboys), bassist Esa Lehporturo and percussionist Ville Raasakka. Early in 2017 the addition of Irish keyboardist O'Reilly O'Rourke (ex-Freak Outburst) completed the line-up, and the band went into Taajuusvarjostin studio to record with producer Arto Nevalainen.

Unrequited Lullabies is the result.

What's it about?

The psychedelia of every-day life, for one thing. I don't think enough of us, enough of the time, appreciate just how miraculous and weird everything going on around us (including ourselves) actually is. Love songs to the children I never had is another, plus a few warnings about what to expect from the good and the bad of life in this magical place, wrapped up in melody and riff.

What's it sound like?

It's been likened to Syd Barrett fronting the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, which is absolutely fine by me.

"A superb solo album...if you like the intelligent pastoral Psych of acts such as XTC, Robyn Hitchcock, The Blue Aeroplanes and Stephen Duffy then I can certainly recommend this."
Retroman Blog, Album Review
"A riot of jangling guitars, Psych Pop smarts, fuzz freak outs and off the wall psychedelia that, along with more current influences, channels Kevin Ayers and the “Canterbury Scene” possibly more than Syd Barrett and the hip London bands from the Sixties. It’s a wonderful record."
The Psychedelicatessen, Album Review
"At various times you can expect to hear traces of 70s era Pretty Things, House Of Love, Mock Turtles, early Charlatans, Robyn Hitchcock, Dave Edmunds, XTC, The Eyes, and most obviously (and prominent) Syd Barrett. Controlled with assured maturity throughout, those influences loosely flow between the pastoral, shoegaze, backbeat pop and acid psychedelia."
Monolith Cocktail, Album Review