A quarter of a century ago, Chris Pope was the driving force behind the Mod revivalists The Chords, one of the bands trailing in the wake of The Jam's success. Aided and abetted by the former Chords drummer Brett "Buddy" Ascott, Pope has finally returned to the fray with this collection of smart, cynical songs, recorded virtually solo. He's clearly still frustrated by unfulfilled musical ambitions, a desire that appears to have swollen into an obsession during the intervening 25 years. Rather too many of these 10 songs scratch away at this particular itch, whether it be musing upon the persistence of ambition in "A World Between Us", striving not to let his past failures hold him back in "The Last Thing I Ever Do", castigating nay-sayers and back-stabbers in "Friends Like That", or anticipating belated acclaim in "Getting It". Why his career prospects should be of interest to others is never fully explained. But when Pope broadens his focus to include grumpy-old-man tirades about the state of things in songs such as "Don't You Ever Let it Get You Down" and "Another Day in England", he is much more agreeable. The opener, "Brave New World", an anthemic critique of Western imperialism, is particularly effective.
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