Brain Donor 

Brain Donor

Brain Donor is 47-year-old Julian Cope's rusty conduit to rock's Fountain of (Sonic) Youth. The former leader of Liverpool psych-pop phenoms Teardrop Explodes, Cope apparently is angling to become an Anglo Iggy Pop: an ageless rock wildman who still wields potent sexual energy. Being British, Cope is at a disadvantage, but his effort is valiant. Brain Donor cherrypicks the finest fruits from his new-ish power trio's two previous UK-only releases. At this late date, it's clear that Cope is more valuable as a critic championing obscure rock bands (see his excellent Head Heritage site) than he is leading them.

That's a bit harsh, but Brain Donor does have a fug of redundancy about it. Cope and his band -- former Spiritualized members Doggen (guitar) and Kevlar (drums), who know a thing or five about psych-rock transcendence -- run through many Stooges/Blue Cheer/MC5/Beefheart chord progressions, riffing with requisite intensity, chaotic clangor, and sulfuric fuzz. But while occasionally exhilarating, the bulk of Brain Donor is about as psychedelic and flavorful as a meat-and-potatoes meal at a turnpike diner.

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