3 Rattlesnakes by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions 1984
I didn't have any older brothers or sisters , my parents weren't into any kind of culture really and I grew up in the land that time forgot.
The guide to what to see what to read could only come from records. So when this and the following lp came out I hoovered it up - Norman Mailer (I skipped getting a new tailor) Joan Didion, Laughing Len etc. all lifted from the lps lyrics.
Perfect Skin was one of those hits that seemed to come from nowhere. I knew the words must be important because they didn't quite scan and rushed out of Lloyd Cole's mouth , tumbling over themselves , not quite fitting the tune ,as if not one syllable could be sacrificed . Full of quotable lines that if you quoted to anyone would immediately make you seem like a tosser so could only form part of an inner monologue. All backed by the kind of guitar lines that no one else seemed to be playing.
The Commotions took the look west mantra of mid 80s Scottish bands in a way that was different from the rest.
I still remember getting the lp with its cover that told you everything and nothing and a photo of a band somehow looking cool and uncomfortable at the same time , I mean one of them had a beard. ( I can quite confidently state that at the time I owned nothing by anyone with beard.)
I was worried that Perfect Skin would be a one off, but wonders of wonders much as I loved it , it was one of the worst things the lp.
The Play it as it Lays inspired title track had the perfect combination of acoustic guitars and strings (who cares if synthetic or real) that I don't think has been bettered
... and in Forest Fire there was the guitar solo for people who didn't like guitar solos
Like a book of short stories with minor characters (all with the J initial) you always got the feeling that Lloyd would rather be Raymond Carver than leading a band.
I remember thinking when I hearing Speedboat, this is what going to college would be like - "Julie said we drink far too much coffee ,wine and cigarettes and we never get no sleep" (he loves a double negative does Lloyd) and it cemented the feeling that High Land had started the year earlier that I had to get away from the flat lands. When I did eventually go to Leeds poly this was the first lp on the record player as I sat in my room waiting for whatever happened next
Right from the off there isn't a duff track on the lp and it started a journey which ,having just checked, means I have 202 Lloyd Cole songs on my mp3 player.
I can't believe that anyone who has stuck with this blog doesn't have this lp, so here is something a little different , a track that didn't make the final cut
Beautiful City - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions