During a career that spanned 1984-1987, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions were one of those bands that divided opinion. To some, they were part of an era that gave us a great cannon of intelligent indie-pop (see also The Go-Betweens and The Smiths), but to others they were a bunch of boring musos led by a pretentious poet with a deadly dull delivery.

Personally, I loved them.

Formed by a bunch of students in Glasgow in the early 80s, they were signed to Polydor Records and put on a fast road to stardom. Just about everyone I associated with in 1984 owned a copy of debut LP Rattlesnakes, while the lead-off single Perfect Skin was high up on most people’s ‘best of’ lists at the time. However, none of the subsequent singles cracked the Top 40, so the record label insisted that the follow-up LP be produced by someone with a track record of singles success….

And so Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley were dispatched to work with the band, and just 12 months later, Easy Pieces was unleashed on the public. A far more polished and poppy affair, it did yield three hit singles and got them out of the pages of the NME and into Smash Hits.

Problem was, it also started to unleash tensions within the band….and it took two years to release their next LP which was tellingly entitled Mainstream, a piece of work that somehow managed to contain some of their finest recordings but also some really dull and unmemorable songs, not helped by many of Lloyd’s lyrics becoming ever more melancholy. It was an LP of a band at a crossroads.

But instead of taking time out to solve things, they broke-up. Lloyd Cole went on to enjoy a solo career that continues to this day. Neil Clark, Blair Cowan and Stephen Irvine went onto to form other bands while Lawrence Donegan became a journalist and later an author.

In 2004, they got back together for a very short tour to mark the 20th Anniversary of Rattlesnakes, including a tremendous gig at Glasgow Barrowlands (trivia fact….they were supported that night by a then little known James Blunt….who was every bit as nauseatingly bland and boring as you’d imagine).

In total, there were 9 singles released by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, of which five made the Top 40. Their final effort was a four-track EP that played at 33 1/3 rpm, with a remix of a track from Mainstream and three new songs.

mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – From The Hip (remix)
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Please
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Lonely Mile
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Love Your Wife

I think you can tell from the lyrics in the chorus that this was a bunch of guys unhappy with their lot:-

I don’t care anymore
I’m sick and I’m tired
And I don’t care anymore
This one’s from the hip
Why should I know why?
It’s a wicked world

In a parallel universe, I’d like to think that someone like Lloyd Cole is being worshipped as a musical god….and has made millions.


9 thoughts on “MISERABLE BASTARDS?

  1. I loved the first two albums but never bothered with “Mainstream.” I loved how the [UK] CDs had the extra B-sides. Lots of Cole solo in the Record Cell, though. Lucky to have finally seen him in solo concert action in my hometown a few years back. I finally got to hear “2CV!”

  2. I have a slightly different 12″ of this one. Mine is a UK release, but it has an extended remix of From the Hip (a little over a minute longer) with the same B-sides. Cover photo the same. Plays at 45rpm. I don’t think Mainstream is in the same league as the first two albums but some very good songs.

  3. Still remember entering the best local record store for indie and imports one morning 1984 and hearing something I’ve never heard before, instantly liked it and as soon track 2 started and it was equally wonderful I told the guy behind the counter ” I take a copy!”, and asked “What is it?”. It was Rattlesnakes, hot from the box of that days new arrivals. A life long love story had begun.

  4. Thanks, JC! In terms of the LC & The Commotions ICA… I would be most interested in the “Big Snake” and “Perfect Blue” Tracks! My email is beisen14@gmail.com
    Thank you for this and your blog!

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