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

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

Although very different, Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren had one trait in common: after the event both would attribute philosophical and/or political meaning to something they had done. In the... > Read more

Sola Rosa: Magnetics (Way Up)

Sola Rosa: Magnetics (Way Up)

Andrew Spraggon, the man behind the ever-morphing Sola Rosa, is a clever fellow. His albums are astutely focused and when he stretches himself he never strays too far from exactly where you think... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PUNK REVOLUTION NYC, a doco by TOM O'DELL (Chrome Dreams DVD)

PUNK REVOLUTION NYC, a doco by TOM O'DELL (Chrome Dreams DVD)

Because so many who were there at the time are fading or have passed on (just one remaining Ramone from that classic album cover), this deeply detailed double DVD/three and a half hour doco on the... > Read more

TONY PARSONS INTERVIEWED (2004): About a Man in the Family Way

TONY PARSONS INTERVIEWED (2004): About a Man in the Family Way

British author Tony Parsons used to take drugs with Johnny Rotten but now prefers taking his two-year old to the park and writing about families in the suburbs. He now lives the life of a... > Read more