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  • Rob


Apologies for the record spam again, I try to reign the reviews in but for this record, I had to make an exception. Released on this day in 1984 ‘Rattlesnakes’ is the debut (and best) album from Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.

Cole’s vocal style and cool demeanour along with his songwriting and witty, literary lyrics helped establish them as a significant part of the British alternative music scene in the 1980s. ‘Rattlesnakes’ is now rightly considered to be an indie pop classic.

I saw Cole live in Liverpool on Saturday and it was an absolute thrill to hear some of these almost 40-year-old songs sounding as good as they ever have. The live band that night included Neil Clark (guitar) and Blair Cowan (keyboards) from The Commotions which made me grin like the Cheshire Cat.

I actually discovered Cole via his first solo album and then snaffled up all of his earlier work afterwards. I obsessed over the three Commotions albums but it was ‘Rattlesnakes’ that I kept going back to.

I’ll argue with anyone that the title track, ‘Perfect Skin’ and ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken’ are the best songs they ever released. Ok, ok, ‘Jennifer She Said’ from ‘Mainstream’ is also a worldy…as is ‘Lost Weekend’ from ‘Easy Pieces’. Oh, forget it!

Talking of ‘Are You Ready…’ I love the fact that the song got a reply in 2006 from Glasgow band Camera Obscura with the excellent ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken’.

When asked about it Cole said, “I was thankful it was great, I think to have a song named after a song that you’ve done is almost as good as it gets, really.” If you haven’t already, check it out.

This was one of the first records I bought after getting back into vinyl in 2018, a bit later a good friend donated his old record collection to me and it had this original pressing in the haul. It sounds as good as ever and is now a treasured record. There are plenty of originals out there, if you fancy a copy it is available for about £20 on eBay/Discogs.

Tracks To Try: ‘Perfect Skin’, ‘Rattlesnakes’, ‘Forest Fire’, ‘Charlotte Street’, ‘Four Flights Up’, ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken’, ‘You Will Never Be No Good’.


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