Formed in 1983 in the famous Tennants Bar in Glasgow, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions built a reputation for studenty, jangly and thoughtful guitar pop.
Listening to the vignettes on The Commotions’ debut LP, it is easy to figure that Lloyd Cole fancied himself as Norman Mailer but quickly abandoned every idea he had.
The evidence is all over Rattlesnakes (1984), in a whirlwind of “wanna come back and check my bookshelves, babe?” references set to a luxuriant pop score. Imagine Leonard Cohen locked in a room with The Beatles and forced to come up with a hit, and that’s Rattlesnakes in a nutshell. Sensual massage oil for literate student poseurs. The single Perfect Skin hit the UK Top 30.
Follow-up album Easy Pieces (1985) spawned two Top 20 singles with Brand New Friend and Lost Weekend. But by Mauinstream (1987), the style which came so easily on their earlier outings seemed laboured, after which Derbyshire native Cole disbanded the group and went solo – declaring his intentions in time-honoured fashion by sprouting facial hair – and started to produce his best work, especially the singles No Blue Skies and She’s a Girl and I’m a Man.
Lawrence Donegan subsequently became a journalist.