Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Dictator (single)


Artist: Pope Joan
Furious Recordings
RRP: £1.99
Available 05 April 2010

Once upon a time, back in the early 80s - as punk was dying but before Duran Duran and their cohorts of makeup wearing fops took to the stage - there was a brief period of British musical history that has gone largely forgotten that featured serious young men and women with synthesisers and overcoats.

Their numbers were few and their successes limited but people/bands such as The Normal, Throbbing Gristle, The Human League [before the girls joined], OMD, The Comsat Angels and The Young Marble Giants carved out a niche for themselves that saw limited success but plenty of innovation.

It was pop music, inspired by the Kraut Rock, Motown and French musique concrete. It was wonderful, annoying, sometimes unlistenable and all just a tad serious. But very much of the moment and full of [unrealisable] potential.

Some 30 years on and the members of Brighton’s Pope Joan have gone and plundered this small but precious store of musical ideas, sprinkled it with some Devo - including the jerky stage moves - and made it all afresh for a new generation.

For those of us that remember it all the first time around this album will be a curio, an echo from an almost forgotten time, buzzing back like a badly tuned in radio. For anyone in their 20s this may seem new and exciting [provide they’ve not already grubbed up TVOD, Total War or Being Boiled], which is okay I guess although it’s really just some very accurate musical regurgitation rather than true novelty.

If the future is going to be the past then I guess Throbbing Gristle is as good a place to go. Anyone for a cover of the band’s 'Something Came Over Me'? No, thought not, but at least it had attitude, something that Pope Joan sadly lack.

Here’s a tribute act for a genre that originally defied imitators and as such Pope Joan is a wholly pointless, if generally entertaining, venture.


Anthony Clark

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£1.58 (
MP3 single
£1.25 (
MP3 single
Pope Joan - Dictator / Mattias (Bonus Track Version) - EP
£1.29 (iTunes GB)
MP3 single (with bonus third track)
£1.29 (
MP3 single

All prices correct at time of going to press.