Rattlesnakes, the debut album from Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, was universally acclaimed by the critics on release; it also sold in very respectable numbers, reaching #13 in the UK album charts. I was sure that all three singles lifted from it had brought success to the band, but only Perfect Skin cracked the Top 40, a feat that eluded both Forest Fire and Rattlesnakes.
As happens with so many newly successful acts, some of the music press turned against the band in the run-up to the release of the new material, with a number of writers accusing the frontman of being pretentious and aloof, taking him to task for this habit of dropping in the names of real people (the debut LP had namechecked Leonard Cohen, Eva Marie Saint, Truman Capote, Arthur Lee and Norman Mailer) into songs about fictional females called Louise, Julie, Jodie and Patience.
The opening line from the lead-off single in advance of the sophomore album, Easy Pieces, superbly stuck up stuck two fingers up at such critics, as he sets off for a stroll, under wet skies, with his buddies Jesus and Jane – and I’m pretty certain Jesus wasn’t, in this instance, just a Spanish boy’s name :-
It really is a wonderful piece of pop music that has aged as beautifully and smoothly as a classic malt whisky, with perfect use of a drum machine,accordion, strings and soulful backing vocals.
It was a hit with the record buying public, giving the band their first Top 20 single in October 1985.