Reviews


4 Star **** MOJO  Feb 06 By Lois Wilson


Chris Pope first composed his perceptive, razor sharp vignettes on the British way of life in the late ‘70s as the guitarist with Deptford Mod-Punk four-piece The Chords.

When their singer Billy Hassett quit in ’81, Pope formed Agent Orange, then moved to New York to peddle his craft with Gatecrash Heaven ( who bizarrely, were managed by Diana Ross’s husband) before returning home and reuniting with Chords’ drummer Buddy Ascott as Pope. This, their 10-track, Pat Collier-produced debut reveals their protagonist hasn’t mellowed a bit with age. His songs still bristle with frustration and vitriol ( Friends Like That) and cloaked in Who-like anthemic rock guitars and flamboyant Moon-like rolls ( Don’t You Ever let It Get You Down) they still provide a voice for those who never received all they truly deserved.

4 Star **** UNCUT  MAR 06 By Paul Moody

Long delayed second album from The Chords' songwriter .

With the ransacking of the late '70's continuing apace, it can only be minutes before a bunch of young scruffs emerge clutching a copy of Mod revivalists The Chords' debut album So Far Away, heralding it as their own personal Pet Sounds.
Now, 25 years on,the band's songwriter Chris Pope has produced a follow-up. Brimming with power-pop riffs and Combat Rock-period Clash-isms, Grace of God is as savage as Townshend with toothache, building to a vein-busting finale with "The last Thing I Ever Do". ACE...

7 Star **** CLASSIC ROCK

. "Former Chords beef up their Mod revivalist roots with surly Godfathers-alike-snottiness, urban Britrock laddidnness and a la mode Doherty slovenliness"

Album: Pope 3 Star *** INDEPENDENT  Feb 06 By Andy Gill

Published: 06 January 2006

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.

 

POPE  GRACE OF GOD By Sargie  Scootering Nov 05

 No questions, So Far Away The Chords seminal ( and only) album would figure in many older scooterists all-time top 20 albums. Especially those with a taste for power pop and punk style tunes. So Far Away is a true classic.

Former members of The Chords, Chris Pope and Buddy Ascott are collaborating together, again, with brand-new-outfit, simply monikered Pope.

Set for full release early in the new year, we’ve got pretty much the world exclusive on Pope’s debut album. As an overall item, Grace Of God is a high quality album,with every one of the 10 tracks a potential British guitar pop classic of the near future. Mind nothing less would be expected from the talented songsmithery of Chris Pope.

Opening song Brave New World  ebbs and builds in typical ‘song, chorus,song,chorus ‘ format, while Friends Like That  has a  hint of The Small Faces meet  Supergrass about it, while Steve Harley muscles in on the act, a potential single. Third up comes the powerful yet commercially inclined A World Between Us  with just a touch of Glam rock bubbling under the surface. Don’t You Ever Let It Get You Down is one of the outstanding numbers on this high quality album, power pop meets  The Faces.

At  the halfway point sits Getting It, dark and brooding, this track is a real grower, the more times you hear it, the more it embeds itself in your subconscious. Into the gentler areas initially, before exploding into a massive chorus is the impassioned Another Day In England, there’s  huge,huge sound driving the full on Any Fool Knows, another potential single I reckon. Power chords abound on the introduction of the classy Always Quit While You’re Still Ahead, an anthem in the making. Penultimate track The Last Thing I Ever Do commences with cascading guitar chords, then the rhythm section fades in with real power and intent.

Finally There But For The Grace Of  God brings this excellent debut to a stunning conclusion as the song  builds to an electrically charged climax. Don’t expect The Chords revisited, it’s 25 years since So Far Away was released, that was then, and this is now. Chris Pope is (still) a genius songwriter and lyricist, Grace of God is an excellent album, full of fractured British guitar driven killer tracks. A  modern masterpiece of great guitar music.

 

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