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Disguise In Love

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Album Review

Although John Cooper-Clarke's caustic brand of "talking in tune" initially earned him the label of the new wave George Formby, he soon won recognition as the British punk scene's poet laureate. Following the Innocents EP and the 1978 album Ou Est la Maison de Fromage? (both on Martin Hannett's Rabid Records), Disguise in Love was Clarke's major-label debut. This album finds the Mancunian bard at his adenoidal, alliterative best, delivering some of his more memorable satirical verses. Fixated on the daily, warts-and-all miseries of life in postwar Britain and beyond, Clarke casts a wide misanthropic net, taking on everything from track suits to extraterrestrials. The Invisible Girls (featuring Bill Nelson, Pete Shelley, and Martin Hannett) provide musical backing that complements each poem, from a minimal, heartbeat-style jogging groove ("Health Fanatic") to a cheesy disco pastiche ("Post-War Glamour Girl"). Clarke's performance works well with these arrangements, especially on "(I Married A) Monster from Outer Space" — a story of intergalactic love gone wrong set to sci-fi electronics — and "Readers' Wives," on which lurid observations on D.I.Y. Polaroid porn are adorned with an appropriately kitschy soundtrack. Clarke's ear for the rhythms of everyday language and his galloping, sometimes staccato delivery can be best appreciated on two unaccompanied pieces: "Salome Maloney," an apocalyptic tale of ballroom dancing and death, and "Psycle Sluts 1&2," an amphetamine-paced paean to biker women praised by Frank Zappa as an example of Clarke's "exquisite diction." While it's a testament to Clarke's comic sensibility that these tracks remain laugh-out-loud funny, it's also important to recognize him as an innovator. Just as pop writers like the Merseybeat poets made Clarke's work possible, so Clarke opened the doors for numerous (less-talented) ranters and popular wordsmiths such as Attila the Stockbroker, Joolz, Seething Wells, and Benjamin Zephaniah. [This version of the album contains bonus material.]

Biography

Born: 25 January 1949 in Salford, Manchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke was born January 25, 1949 in Manchester, England; he first began performing his verse backed by a local folk group called the Ferrets, but in 1977 signed to the Rabid Records label to release the Martin Hannett-produced single "Psycle Sluts." With his rapid-fire verbal delivery and stinging social commentary, Clarke quickly emerged as the poet laureate of the punk movement, and he read his work as an opening act for groups including the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks;...
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Disguise In Love, John Cooper Clarke
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