Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Comus - First Utterance

First Utterance

Released 1971 on Dawn
Reviewed by Babaluma, 28/07/2005ce

If your lucky, very very occasionally, an album comes along which completely blows you away, and you know it will be with you for life. It goes on heavy heavy rotation, and your life BECOMES the album for a while, and you know you'll never be quite the same again.

Many strange threads coincided which eventually led me to listen to the 1971 album by Comus, "First Utterance", in Tower Records of all places. I was instantly hooked (something that never happens when I listen in a record shop). It was the weirdest "Folk" (for want of a better term) that I had ever heard. "This is for me", I thought. Since I bought it last week I haven't been able to stop playing it, over and over again. It's totally incredible.

So what does it sound like? Well, that's very hard to describe because it doesn't really sound anything like I have ever heard before, except maybe a little bit like Current 93 in places (Comus were a large influence on David Tibet and Steven Stapleton from Nurse With Wound).

Thematically it is mostly VERY dark, dealing with pagan gods, sacrifice, rape, death, hanging, mental illness, and necrophilia etc. But don't let that put you off, as the music and delivery are quite simply stunning and mind blowing. The main instrumentaion is acoustic 12-string and some electric guitar, bongos, flute, violin, bass guitar (sometimes played glissando style - think Steve Hillage/Daevid Allen), and male and female vocals. The musical style and singing technique conjour up images of Greek satyrs stomping through forests on a dark moonlit night. It has a very animalistic and pagan vibe. It is also an extremely psychedelic album.

I could rant on and on, but I will stop soon. It is ceratainly not an album for everybody, but for those that enjoy the dark and the very very weird, it is a true masterpiece, and I know I'll never be the same again now that it has become a part of me.

Now available remastered with everything else Comus ever released on the Castle label "Song To Comus" compilation.

Highly recommended!!!

Reviews Index