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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 6 Jun. 2000
This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
This really is a superb album and still sounds good today. It was the soundtrack to my late teens and sends shivers down my spine still. "Are you ready to be Heartbroken" is a fabulous song and the guitar solo on "Forest Fire" is awesome. BUY IT
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs about Julie...and others, 10 Oct. 2004
What is about using the name Julie in songs? Is it a lyric writer's trick to conjure up images of iconic blondes a la Julie Christie? Cole uses it in two of the first four songs here - 'Speedboat' and 'Down On Mission Street' .Of course as everybody whose followed Cole's career knows, he has a thing about names beginning with J (Jennifer, Jim, Jane, Jodie, Jesus and possibly others also feature in his songs). Anyway, Julies everywhere should be pleased to be namechecked in such a classic album. There really isn't a bad track on the original album. From the jangly masterpiece that is 'perfect skin' (Louise) to, arguably the best song, 'Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken, this is supreme music. There is a definite debt to Tom Verlaine/Patty Smith in Cole's vocals (which is even more apparent on the extra disc which includes a version of Television's 'Glory)) and he, like any other right thinking person, has obviously listened to sixties greats such as the Byrds, Dylan and the Velvet Underground. However, although these influences inform the songs Cole's material stands up in its own right. Strangely, the Commotions were less celebrated than Glasgow contemporaries Orange Juice but while 'You Can't Hide Your Love Forever' is also a very good album, over their short life the Commotions were much more consistent. In fact, I personally think the other two Commotions albums(''Easy Pieces', 'Mainstream') are also brilliant and worth 5 stars. Bizarrely, for some reason, those albums seemed to become unfashionable very quickly but that's the trendies' loss. So the original album was, undisputedly, a masterpiece but how much extra value has been added here? Well, a few of the tracks on the second disc were present on the last CD version. The rest is an assortment of demos, BBC sessions and live recordings. As you might imagine it's hardly essential but as an occasional diversion it's fine.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Julie Burchill's loss, 11 May 2006
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
With its debonair lyrics and cool arrangements this is the first Lloyd Cole album to listen to. Perfect Skin, Forest Fire and Rattlesnakes made a classic debut set of superb singles, and Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? could easily have been a fourth (an earlier version nearly became their first single and is included on the second disc).

Much is made of the cinematic and literary references, but far from being pretentious this seems an accurate reflection of the kinds of allusions made in normal conversations of the time. According to the illuminating sleeve notes to which all the band contribute, Julie Burchill remarked in her album review that she had no use for a country and western Velvet Underground, showing that she was as off-target regarding the Commotions as she was on everything else.

Although the album has been re-issued before with B-sides as bonus tracks, this time the original album is the sole incumbent of disc one and so there is a natural close at the album's end, enabling it to be enjoyed as an entity.

The second disc gathers together all the B-sides from the 7" and 12" versions of the three singles: The Sea And The Sand/You Will Never Be No Good from Perfect Skin; Andy's Babies (about Warhol's Factory acolytes) and Glory (a Television cover) from Forest Fire. Sweetness was thought by the band to be too good to be a B-side but at the time was hurriedly recorded in Wales while they were touring, when they needed something to back the Rattlesnakes single (the single's third track, Four Flights Up, was taken from the album). Jesus Said was recorded in Islington in early 1985 with Paul Hardiman, who produced the first album, and so belongs here, but it didn't get released until 1987 when it became the flip of My Bag (although Lloyd Cole prefers it to anything on the second album, Easy Pieces). One live favourite, Beautiful City, was left off the album but the outtake is included here (as well as a live version).

The only released track missing is the lovely 12" version of Forest Fire (about 45 precious seconds longer than the album version), though a shorter one-take Maida Vale session version from Radio One's Evening Session is included. Two other tracks from the same session add Jocelyn Pook and Audrey Riley on violin and cello, and there is a live-to-air performance of Patience for Saturday Live, from Broadcasting House's sub basement S2 studio (I think Lloyd Cole's comments for Forest Fire in the notes actually refer to this earlier session).

Also previously unreleased are the demo for Perfect Skin and five live recordings from 1984 and 1985. These were recorded at Nightmoves, the Marquee and Glasgow's Barrowlands, some for radio broadcast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The 80s weren't ALL about The Smiths you know....., 1 May 2011
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
How many times do we hear that the 80s were a wasteland of decent music - with the exception of The Smiths?? Well this album from 1985 proves all the critics wrong. Along with other long-overlooked artists such as The Pale Fountains and The Adventures - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions have produced some the most memorable, lyrical and humable music of the last 20years.

The opening song - Perfect Skin - evokes the jangly feel of The Byrds, with Cole's brilliantly morose-yet-cheerful lyrics. The title track is simply one THE best pop songs ever - with its string-driven hook and somehow managing to couple the words Eve-Marie-Saint with On The Waterfront is priceless.

The other thing that strikes you about this set - is the spaciousness of it all - there's nothing there that doesn't need to be - Speedboat being a case in point - bluesy keyboard and guitar - creating a smoky atmosphere.

This is for anyone who is looking for an album which satiates their need for aching songs about relationships...but it won't make you feel worse! If anything you'll feel better after hearing Lloyd Cole's heartache. Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 11 Sept. 2007
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
Hearing 'Perfect Skin' for the first time when it was released as a single was one of those 'wow' moments for me. The nifty guitars, beaty rhythms and imaginative lyrics of the subsequent album represent something of an oasis in the mid-1980s. There was some decent music in that decade from elsewhere, but the dead, plastic production of so much of the music, together with that horrible, funky, slap bass sound spoiled much of it. 'Rattlesnakes' rings out as if none of that had happened. Cole's rambling voice suggests that the tracks would start to sound samey after a while, but they don't. There's little point in running through the tracks individually: they are all delightful in their own way. The mystery for me is why this band's career was so low-key by comparison with over-rated miserablists The Smiths (the band was okay, but Morrissey was a waste of space). My copy of this CD includes four good bonus tracks, b-sides, I presume. A rare example of a classic album from the 1980s.
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5.0 out of 5 stars another classic 80's album, 25 Mar. 2009
By 
S. Suligowski "jules" (heysham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
Rattlesnakes was one of my best vinyl purchases of the 1980's, so it was only natural that i would purchase the album on cd.
This for me is the best album from lloyd cole and one which pre dates the more commercial type sound of 'easy pieces'. There are some bands that do not improve album wise, unfortunately, in my opinion lloyd cole and the commotions are such a band, but this album is a gem and on its own stands out as an 80's masterpiece. Definitely worth buying if you are a true 80's fan!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary bonus tracks, 6 April 2015
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
One of the great albums of the Eighties and recognised as one of the best debut albums of all time. Great pop songs and wonderful orchestration on some tracks. I'm especially fond of Speedboat, Rattlesnakes and Forest Fire. As usual, the bonus tracks do nothing except threaten to take the shine off an otherwise perfect album.
I wasn't too keen on the follow-up Easy Pieces, but their third album Mainstream is a neglected classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the obscure pioneers of the 80's alternative music scene., 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
I remember hearing this album being played on cassette by my late aunt when I was about 6, although I didn't have music tastes back then. When I was searching through tapes when I was about 18, we still had the cassette back then. I grew interested in Lloyd Cole's music for a number of years later, I was pleased after I bought this on cd. It is enjoyable and it is very melodic and brings memories to me when I was younger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars astonishing, 24 Jan. 2011
By 
H. Martin (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
I listened to this for the first time in ages and cannot believe how good it is. This is one of those rare albums that can be listened to from start to finish and doesn't lag or make me want to skip a track.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 31 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Rattlesnakes (MP3 Download)
I love this album, and listen to it at least once a week. I love the title track, Perfect Skin and Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? in particular, but I really don't think there are any sub standard.
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Rattlesnakes by Lloyd Cole (Audio CD - 1992)
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