Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

“If you really want to get straight/Read Norman Mailer/Or get a new tailor”. With lines like that (from 1984’s Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?), it’s no wonder that singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole and his Commotions became such a touchstone for ‘80s students and wannabe indie intellectuals. Their classic debut album, Rattlesnakes, seethed with proto-hipster literary, music and cinematic references, from Eve Marie Saint to Arthur Lee to Simone De Beauvoir, but also allied them to knowing-yet-effervescent pop melodies, meaning the likes of Forest Fire and Patience were guaranteed to impress that bookish girl/boy on your English Lit course. Thirty years on, they sound just as fresh, perhaps because such reference points – rather like Cole himself, whose solo career has rarely attracted such attention – have been allowed to gather dust, neglected on library shelves while modern students explore the more instant delights of the internet. But this beautifully packaged, six-disc box set makes a strong case for Cole’s rehabilitation; even the follow-up albums, 1985’s polished-but-charming Easy Pieces and 1987’s raggedly hedonistic Mainstream – regarded at the time as diminishing returns after Rattlesnakes flawless poise – yielding up multiple gems. Time for them to cause a Commotion again.