THE UNDERRATED SECOND LP

easypiecessleeve

Everyone I knew in the mid 80s…..and I mean everyone……adored Rattlesnakes, the debut LP from Lloyd Cole & The Commotions. It’s a record packed with great tunes that you can latch on to immediately while lyrically its as fine an album as any. Poetry and prose set to music….

However, not so many folk seem so fond of the follow-up Easy Pieces, released in 1985 just 13 months after the debut. While Rattlesnakes was commemorated with a 20th Anniversary Tour in 2004 (where the band played a blistering set at Glasgow Barrowlands only spoiled by the fact that a then unknown but cringingly appalling James Blunt was the support act), Easy Pieces is passed off with the words ‘its ok….but nowhere near as good as the debut’ – even by the band themselves.

I’m not going to sit here and argue that Easy Pieces is a better record than Rattlesnakes…..but I am prepared to say that it as a far far far better record than many give it credit for.

Lead-off single Brand New Friend is a near perfect piece of pop, brilliantly polished by the production skills of Langer and Winstanley. Trust me on this one….

mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Brand New Friend

Lost Weekend, with its clear-rip of The Passenger (as mentioned previously here) was the next 45 while the third single lifted from the LP was Cut Me Down. I many ways this was a strange choice as it isn’t the most commercial of songs but I suppose when six months have passed since the LP was released and the promotional tour is over then the third and final single isn’t really all that important in the grand scheme of things. I still think they missed a trick not issuing this as a 45:-

mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Why I Love Country Music

Two other songs on the LP are also personal favourites – opening track Rich which is one that seems tailor-made for radio and is very reminiscent of REM and closer Perfect Blue with its wonderful harmonica and acoustic guitar opening that screams out Americana Road Movie……….

mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Rich
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Perfect Blue

So there you have it. Four of the ten songs from the LP. Everyone a gem. And the other six aren’t too shabby either……

17 thoughts on “THE UNDERRATED SECOND LP

  1. I’m sure every band would wish for a debut of the quality of Rattlesnakes. With an album that good the follow up is always going to be an issue.
    You have called it spot on JC Brand New Friend is a good album but suffers when compared to it’s predecessor (as would pretty much most other albums)

  2. I’m nowhere near as familiar with Easy Pieces as I am with Rattlesnakes, but that’s more down to the fact that I inexplicably purchased the former on cassette rather than vinyl – and then hardly ever played it. It is a more than decent album, though.

  3. Perfect Blue is a track that is played quite often in this house probably only Forest Fire is played more. There is also quite a good alternate take of the song kicking about which I’m sure you already have.

  4. For me, Perfect Blue is a better album than Rattlesnakes. Great to know that not only me think that way.
    I agree with you, the production did a very good job.
    Besides Perfect Blue (a classic) Cut me Down is one of my favourites.

  5. Agreed. Not as wonderful as Rattlesnakes but still a fine album. Perfect Blue, Minor Character, Rich and the opening of Grace is very REM.

  6. Given how many comments there have been today (totally unexpected!!!) then I certainly will get round to offering some thoughts on Mainstream in a few weeks time….

  7. the debut album was an immediate knock-out, Easy Pieces needed a bit more time but on my record player became just as a common guest as Rattlesnakes (and Mainstream later on). Country music is a cracking song!
    I think I’ve mentioned it earlier, but there have been quite a couple of totally amazing debut albums by Scottish bands. The Associates, The Bathers, Big Country, The Skids to mention a few to join LC in that league!

  8. You know I agree… And I add that the whole Lloyd Cole carreer deserves a big re-evaluation. Everytime I buy one of those neglected solo albums for 3 or 4 €, I rediscover the greatness of his songwriting

  9. Absolutely underrated! It’s only a very few bands that can manage to get around the sophomore jinx. Here’s a great example!

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