Teardrop Explodes : Kilimanjaro/Wilder

Like the great love affairs, the greatest hatreds last forever.

Behold the greatest dysfunctional family in pop. The Gallagher brothers might dislike each other, but unlike The Teardrop Explodes, they never chased each other around the hills of Wales with loaded shotguns.

A leaf through Julian Cope's autobiography will show you what precious, vindictive scumbags Liverpool's abiding gift to psychotropic pop were. That from such a primordial, seething soup of bile and chaos they managed to produce two of the defining albums of their age is a measure of their brilliance.

After a trio of mesmerising indie singles, the Teardrops signed for a major and, fuelled by LSD psychosis and mutual loathing, they went to Wales to make their psychepunkefunkedelic thang happen. The result was 'Kilimanjaro'. Restored to twice its former glory, with bonus tracks and the reinstated original (crap) sleeve, it's as frazzled as it was in 1980.

Copey loved his hypnotic bass thud, as 'Poppies In The Field' and 'Sleeping Gas' attest, but he couldn't quite lock the big chorus out of his head. Hence the glorious 'Treason', the, erm, dreamy 'When I Dream' and 'Brave Boys Keep Their Promises', which sounds a lot more like Wham!'s 'Young Guns' than the Modern Antiquarian would care to remember. 8/10

One huge hit single ('Reward') later and the Teardrops had it all to do. Their second album was set to be the smash of 1981, but as their crusading pop army dissolved into petty squabbling, it never quite happened.

'Wilder' bombed on its release, but it's the 360-degree sound sensation that justified Cope's delusions of grandeur. Wilful, unfocused and gloriously sloppy, Cope out Arthur-Leed Arthur Lee to make the Love album that never was. Two awesome singles ('Colours Fly Away' and 'Passionate Friend') colour the medieval darkness but the lumbering closer, 'The Great Dominions', saw the Teardrops make their final meander into genius. 9/10

A stillborn third album followed and then they were no more. A few years back, keyboard player and Food Records boss David Balfe allegedly invited his former bandmates and Liverpool cohorts to his celebrated 'house in the country'. Not to celebrate old times but to show them a bank statement that proved he had £2m, before throwing them all off the premises.

Like the great love affairs, the greatest hatreds last forever.

Jim Wirth

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