One of his generation’s most gifted songsmiths, Chris Pope was only 18 when his band, late-70s mod revivalists The Chords, cracked the Top 40 with their storming second single Maybe Tomorrow and lone LP So Far Away. However, despite further great 45s such as Something’s Missing and One More Minute, The Chords were unfairly straitjacketed by mod and they split prematurely in 1981.
Pope promptly disappeared off the map before eventually returning to issue three acclaimed LPs under his own name in recent years including 2014’s sprightly Peace Of Mind. Pope’s latest, Take On Life, finds him fronting an all-new and powerfully versatile Chords UK line-up. Another must-have release, it’s a record which builds bridges with Pope’s past as it includes freshly-minted versions of Home Sweet Home and the impassioned Burning All Around: originally demoed for The Chords’ mooted, but unrecorded second LP.
Nostalgia, though, soon takes a back seat, for Pope and co are primarily preoccupied with crafting contemporary, hook-laden punk-pop here. They deliver this in spades, too, throwing pugnacious shapes on the hedonistic Get Me To Saturday Night; bemoaning the beleaguered state of the nation on Pillars Of Society and taking the listener on a rousing, whistle-stop tour of London on the meticulously-observed Man On The Northern Line.