2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
swotty students and self-conscious intellectuals.,
This review is from: Rattlesnakes (Audio CD)
Arguably one of the finest British pop albums of the '80s, 1984's RATTLESNAKES is the brilliant debut of one of the finest singer-songwriters of the decade. Coming right at a point when synth-pop's domination of the UK charts was ending and a new breed of guitar-based pop bands led by the Smiths and Aztec Camera were the new British wave, RATTLESNAKES had the force of a major new work, and still holds up better than most of its contemporaries. Cole's literate, at times self-consciously so lyrics, and chiming, folk-rocky tunes are outstanding.
'Rattlesnakes' is a great album in anyone's language. Essentially the music is country rock with added wry British pop touches and Cole's unusual but perfectly suitable hiccuping vocals. Jangle pop for tea parties; a certain sophisticated blend of indie pop that delights both the ears and your pseudo-intellectual snobby side.
Rattlesnakes is one of those weird albums that's not as famous as it should be not because it's esoteric, or because it was badly promoted, or because it's difficult to listen to, or any of the usual reasons. It's because, when you hear it, you just assume that people must know about this album already. This sounds like a cross between The Smiths and Aztec Camera as I have already mentioned. A rich, deep album that just gets deeper and richer every you listen to it. This is Cole's first effort and as, most first efforts are, his freshest, and not so coincidentally his best.
It all seems faintly absurd now but Lloyd Cole supposedly alienated a large part of his potential fanbase by inserting so many literary references into his lyrics. Surely if the songs themselves were up to scratch then this point would be irrelevant. Cole can't stop chattering about all these films he's seen and books he's read, and fumbles for poetry to describe the perfect skin of the girl down the hall of his four-story apartment building. "She's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin/And she's sexually enlightened by Cosmopolitan," The crux of loving this album is whether lines like "She looks like Eva Marie Saint/In On the Waterfront/She reads Simone de Beauvoir/In her American Circumstance," swoon you over
It cannot be easy being Lloyd Cole. With his moody lyrics, pasty complexion and spectacular array of black polo necks, he was the voice of swotty students and self-conscious intellectuals.