Lloyd Cole and the Commotions: Rattlesnakes, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

 |   |  1 min read

Lloyd Cole: Perfect Skin (demo version)
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions: Rattlesnakes, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

As with any year 1984 threw up some odd conjunctions, but to be honest Mr Orwell's year seemed odder than most: Springsteen's Born in the USA and Prince's 1999 competed for attention with Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.

U2's Unforgettable Fire and REM's Reckoning arrived, so did Wham's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Culture Club, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Sade, lots of eyeliner -- and Bob Dylan and Liberace were guests on the same David Letterman Show.

Suzanne Vega was hailed as the fresh new voice.

Somewhere in all this Lloyd Cole and the Commotions released their terrific debut album Rattlesnakes.

It was smart, poppy but thoughtful, intense but approachable, and chock full of memorable songs with choruses.

Its lyrical cleverness -- references to writers Truman Capote, Joan Didion and Norman Mailer (which Cole rhymes with "get a new tailor") -- saw it nailed as a student bedsit classic. Julie Birchill sniffily said she had no use for a country'n'western Velvet Underground.

The fact was however that Rattlesnakes was one of the finest albums of 80s, and still sounds fresh today. It bristles with ideas and melodies, and is shot through with fine musicianship. In that regard -- and that regard alone I hasten to add -- it recalls the first Dire Straits album which also seemed to arrive out of its time, was much reviled by hip critics, and yet has endured (if you can put aside prejudice about their latter stadium years).

This double disc with the original Rattlesnakes album on one and some edgy and tense live tracks, demo versions, B-side and outtakes on the other came out on the 20th anniversary of the album's release and reminds you that it was, and is, very, very good.

(And there are gems aplenty on the second disc)

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Red Red Meat: Bunny Gets Paid (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Red Red Meat: Bunny Gets Paid (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

The now familiar "Deluxe Edition" is usually reserved for albums which have achieved some special position in people's lives: classic albums (Sabbath's Paranoid), cornerstone releases,... > Read more

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn – whose sole skirmish with chart success was Wondering Where The Lions Are in 1980 – is the Richard Thompson of Canada. And if you don't get the reference that's the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: David Long

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: David Long

Those who have followed the by-ways of David Long's busy life might wonder why this award-winning producer, composer and guitarist-without-portfolio – who was a founder member of the... > Read more

Richard's slightly Spanish paella thing with chorizo sausages

Richard's slightly Spanish paella thing with chorizo sausages

Richard admits that he may have seen something like this in "weekend magazine" supplement, but he's tampered with it a little until it is now perfect -- or at least to his taste.... > Read more