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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars she's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin..., 2 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
'I might come to a conclusion other than that which is absolutely necessary...'

It is hard to believe that this classic debut album was originally released over 20 years ago in 1984. At that time Lloyd Cole was labeled part of the so called 'college rock' scene (and later cruelly labeled as glum rock) this album in retrospect goes way beyond being included in any such 'movement' and stands high as one the finest albums of the 80's, by any artist. The production has not dated, probably as a result of the combination of a clean sound and the classic intelligently composed songs laced with smart, ironic lyrics formed around folk-rock-melody patterns, a style which remains eternally popular. This classic album kicks off (after an odd 2 second delay on the CD - half expected to hear some crackles) with the impossibly wordy track 'perfect skin' (a trick repeated on a later commotions album 'mainstream' and the opening track 'my bag') which really sets the tone for the whole album with Intelligent lyrics and quality musicianship painting pictures and images, full of observations and commentary of young university life and the confusion, loves and conflicting social circumstances that occur among the overeducated and underemployed.

Lloyd Cole's key skill (which he also carries over with varying success into his solo career) is to be smart and accurate with observation and commentary, but also retain a certain degree of self mocking wit and humour about proceedings, which prevents Lloyd Cole coming across as self indulgent or pretentious. This album and its songs are literally littered with statements, questions and self answered queries, many of which have more than one angle to approach them from, for example how many songwriters dare to pair up the words sin and cosmopolitan in a verse? Or end a song stating that there isn't a moral to what you have just been listening to?

Very rarely, there isn't really a weak track on the album, but highlights for me are: Perfect Skin, Rattlesnakes, Forest Fire, 2CV, Patience and a real gem hidden at the back of the CD Are you ready to heartbroken?

Like many of my favourite albums of all time (and this being one of them) it is the subtlety that appeals here with the outstanding lyrical content and musicianship that does the talking. Along with 'Mainstream' and Lloyd Cole solo album 'Lovestory', Rattlesnakes represents Lloyd Cole at his very best. If you enjoy artists such as Prefab sprout, Aztec camera or The Bible you will also enjoy this. This album is full of lyrical and musical interplay that more recent bands or artists such as Coldplay or KT Tunstall can only dream of.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jun 2010 23:32:33 BDT
Excellent review. Thank you.

Posted on 17 Aug 2010 15:25:51 BDT
Good, solid review BD. Just a couple of things regarding the final paragraph. When you mention "the bible", I assume you are referring to the band 'The Bible'. If my assumption is correct, you may want to amend it accordingly. You may of course be referring to the book.

Secondly, apart from them both hailing from Scotland, I can't really see a clear link between Cole and KT Tunstall and therefore don't think it's the best of comparisons. Yes, they both sing and play guitar but so did Jimi Hendrix.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Aug 2010 15:52:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 May 2011 15:41:34 BDT
BD says:
I suppose the non use of a capital letter in the words 'the bible' may mean people are confused with the great book, and not the superb Boo Hewerdine fronted band from Cambridge, but to be fair I think you are being a touch picky, and the confusion is unlikely given that I referred to the bible as artists, and I am reviewing a Lloyd Cole album? ;-)

I wasn't comparing artists based upon nationality (never noticed the scottish theme until you pointed it out!) I was approaching it from a singer song writer angle. However I think we both agree that Lloyd Cole was a lyrical (and I don't use this word often) genius.

Posted on 6 Feb 2011 21:06:14 GMT
Hard to believe this review was written, what ? 6 years ago - back in the Blair years before a coalition was imaginable, but still a necessary review.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2011 21:07:20 GMT
D DAVIES excellent comment a mere five years after the'll find my comment on your comment of the review of this record is rather more prompt.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2011 12:13:19 BDT
To BD/5000
At the risk of appearing overly fussy 'the bible' is wrong whichever way you look at it as the book should be referred to as 'the Bible' and the band (as correctly stated by 5000) should be 'The Bible'.
In all fairness, more than 20 years on, it is quite possible that the review will be read by persons unaware of that band's existence.
Perhaps some will conclude that the Commotions were a bunch of christian rockers!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2011 13:47:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 May 2011 15:06:53 BDT
BD says:
To those who love this album as much as me, and enjoyed the review I wrote, thank you for your comments and helpful votes. Great to know the review is still enjoyed 6 years on since it was written in the earlier years of my Amazon reviewer 'career'.

To those who continue to debate at length over the use or not to use a capital letter or two when describing the sadly now deceased Cambridge rock band ( but Boo still performs solo and on request sings great songs from his younger The Bible, The bible or the bible days), which happens to share the name of a collective religious work (after all the bible is not one book but a compilation of many) , I am pretty sure none of us are 100% grammatically correct on every line of every review, document, or email we have ever sent, submitted or composed in our lives, and I am sure if I had the time and inclination (which I don't because life is too short), I could comb through your reviews and find a few errors if I wanted to. There may be a spelling or grammar query in this response too, but I don't care too much about them either.

To me and all those who found the review helpful or enjoyed the review, the use of capital letters or not when describing the rock band The Bible, the bible or the bible in the wider context didn't really matter, and as I qualified a year ago, the section of the review which mentioned the band the bible, The bible or The Bible, also included the words 'artists' and 'bands' (big context clue there) so any confusion with a fable based religious work of the same name really isn't my fault, (write to Boo Hewerdine if you have an issue with it?). It is also possible for the religious work to be described as The Bible, The bible, the bible or indeed the Holy Bible, so any discussion or criticism of my review containing the band name The Bible, The bible or the bible really is of little or consequence to anyone, especially Lloyd Cole who recorded the album Rattlesnakes almost 30 years ago, is happily living in new England with his wife and family, who are no doubt peacefully enjoying the fruits of his genius and a lack of speed cameras which are not permitted in the state of New England in the USA, based upon a Civil liberty infringement law. They also have horses there. However I digress, in the interests of peace and harmony and love on our troubled planet, and to appease those who are interested in such matters, I have submitted an edit of the review to say The Bible and no longer 'the bible' when describing the band called The Bible, The bible or the bible, and this correction should appear within a few days, so any possible confusion with any religious works or fictitious/imaginary Christian rocks bands of the same name, should now be clear.

I also wish to state that at no point did my reviews usage of the words 'the bible' not The Bible or The bible, attempt to show preference over other religions or beliefs, as other religions are available to be followed and worshipped. There may also be other rocks bands in the world that are of the same name as a religious or holy work, but I am not aware of them (there was an american 90's band called Rocket from the Crypt, but as they used the name of a section of a religious building, for the context of this dicusssion, they don't count). Also other Holy and sacred books and publications are also widely used throughout the world, and can be purchased at all good stockists, including the mighty Amazon who are wonderful and may be able to supply a kindle edition of your favoured work, and if they don't you can always ask them and I am sure the price will be more than reasonable. I also wish to state that Lloyd Cole who to the best of my knowledge apart from being a song writing genius, is also a pretty wholesome individual. He may himself have read, be reading or intending to read the holy collective works known as the bible, The bible, The Bible or the Holy Bible but this information is not known in the public domain, and I was in no way associating Lloyd Cole or any of his Commotions with the book the bible, The bible, The Bible or the Holy Bible in any way. Also to the best of my knowledge, none of the tracks on Rattlesnakes or indeed any of Lloyd Cole's albums with or without the Commotions contain any subliminal or controversial religious references, even if they are listened to whilst being played backwards, sped up to 78rpm or whilst doing a handstand whilst eating toast (Marmite optional). Now please for the love of all known Gods, this will be my own final response on the matter, and I now considered the issue 100% resolved. Thanks all, BD. xx

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2011 14:39:37 BDT
Excellent stuff!
I should point out I gave your review one of those 'helpful' votes so my comment was not a knock of your review. it was intended as more a bit of idle speculation as to humorous by products of potential misunderstandings.
Your response brightened a dull afternoon.
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