ARTIST: The Teardrop Explodes
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #156 US, #24 UK
SINGLES: Sleeping Gas, Bouncing Babies, Treason (#18 UK, #3 UK Indie), When I Dream (#47 UK), Ha-Ha I’m Drowning
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you are a serious Julian Cope fan.
LINEUP: Julian Cope, David Balfe, Alan Gill, Gary Dwyer, Mick Finkler
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut record for Julian Cope and his unstable band of psychedelic new wave post-punk UK hitmakers.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As unstable of a band as Teardrop Explodes was, this debut album is really tight and well-thought out. Finkler was sacked halfway through recording, and even before the recording sessions started Balfe (who was their manager) shoe-horned his way into the group proper.
The sound of the music, though, is all Julian Cope. His voice is distinctive, and he has a sense of melody and understands how to color the songs in an intriguing way. His bass work is also expressive and propulsive and plays off of Balfe’s keyboards well.
Most of the album is a success, and they started a good chart run in the UK after the non-LP single “Reward” (found on the deluxe edition) hit #6. They then re-released “Treason” to great success. This is well worth checking out, especially if you’re intrigued by early 80’s UK indie music.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band really started back when Cope and Ian McCulloch got together in Liverpool. Their egos always clashed, and the two bands they were in together fell apart quckly. But you can definitely hear some Echo and the Bunnymen in the Teardrop Explodes (though Cope would say it the other way, no doubt).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a three disc set with BBC sessions, off-album singles and all the B-sides.
GRADE: A-: There are a lot of intriguing elements here, and you can get lost inside some of the songs easily.