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Kory Clarke: Opium Hotel II

Album Review

Warrior Soul motormouth goes it alone.

Kory Clarke isn’t so much rock’s nearly man as its nowhere near-ly man. But despite spending the last 20 years snatching a succession of defeats from the jaws of victory, his reduced circumstances stand in inverse proportion to his artistic achievements.

The singer’s gloriously messy second solo album finds him parking the art-metal rabble-rousing of Warrior Soul for an opiate-fuelled approach that’s one part William Burroughs, one part Jim Morrison and one part crazy homeless man ranting in the middle of the street. 

Clarke leaps between lo-fi rants (America’s New Cunt), blissful psychedelia (Painting Space Ships) and moments of genuinely addled psychosis (I Am Your Pilot, in which Clarke sounds so strung out you can almost hear his pupils dilating). 

It is, by turns, bolshy, brave, baffling and occasionally brilliant. Of course it’ll sell less than nothing, but then why change the habit of a lifetime?

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