The Teardrop Explodes: Reward
t’d be a stretch to call me a musician, but I can only marvel at the loving construction behind an opening twenty seconds of music that essentially translates to twenty seconds of Julian Cope and his gang of funsters soundly slapping me about the chops. Probably with a medium-sized site of ancient druidic importance. Actually, ‘construction’ is far too rigid a term. It belies the raucous sounds of chaos which kick this track off, sticks them in a straight jacket and mails bits of their anatomy back to their loved ones. Let us not defile such organic beauty with references to structural rationalism. Let us move forward with breakneck speed.
That first synth line arrives like a flock of dairy-obsessed nutters chasing a cheese down a hill in Gloucestershire, tumbling and blundering its way downwards in a self-propelled blur of motion. Forever chasing the unpredictable bounce of the fromage. Or, in this case, the rolling, pounding drum-abuse. Does it stop for a rest at the bottom of melody mountain? Does it bollocks. Someone’s had a trumpet thrust roughly into their hands and is under clear instructions to invigorate the crap out of things. It’s just the merest tasty hint toward the tootling insanity to follow.
Lurking beneath is a freakish, swirly-eyed gogglemonster of a bass riff. Much like one of those horrific deep-sea fish with jaws bigger than its face, this bass-ey beastie continually threatens to leap out and consume the entire ensemble. Luckily it’s content with swimming in perpetually hypnotic circles, forever contained as the stimulating undercurrent necessary for a true masterpiece of pop.
Because it should be evident by now; that’s what we\\\'re dealing with.
Every so often Julian Cope applies his undeniable genius and emerges with a record that it’s possible to do only one dance to. The ‘lying on the floor and flailing your arms and legs in random spasms’ dance. “Reward” is no exception. Those crucial twenty seconds let us know we’re in for a frantic couple of minutes. No turning back. No seatbelts. Please dangle your limbs over the railings, because frankly we don’t give a shit.
And then there’s that little drum-trill, that extra sneaky globule of detail, that devious device which perfectly leads into one of the finest lyrical exclamations ever known ...
... “Bless my cotton socks, I’m in the news!”
Oh yes. Yes, you are.