Rattlesnakes is one of the truly great albums of the last 30 years or so. Fact.
Rattlesnakes is a great album in anyone's language. I still remember the first time I heard Perfect Skin on the radio and feeling one of those "wow" moments you get when you have heard something special. The music is beautifully arranged with some outstanding melodies combined with Cole's unique literary style of writing. The album was not scared to wear it's influence on it's sleeve with hints throughout of Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed whilst still sounding contemporary alongside their musical peers, The Smiths and Aztec Camera.
Rattlesnakes is incredibly consistent from start to finish with no weak tracks at all. If the guitar solo in Forest Fire does not get those hairs on the back of your neck standing up then head to your local doctor pronto.
There is always an element of self mocking wit amongst Cole's smart, observational lyrics which elevate his songwriting to the same level as his own heroes. Rattlesnakes represents the best of Lloyd Cole from the divine opener, Perfect Skin to the sublime closer, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? It is a masterpiece of clever, ironic lyrics with some tremendous interplay between a band that had barely been together for 2 years.
I have seen the album described as a companion piece to Blood On The Tracks and that is not too far from the mark. Lloyd Cole has released some wonderful music over the last 30 years but Rattlesnakes is still for me his finest hour and still sounds fresh and contains some of my favourite lyrical couplets.
She's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin
And she's sexually enlightened by cosmopolitan
I believe in love, I'll believe in anything
that's gonna get me what I want and get me off my knees
then we'll burn your house down, don't it feel so good
there's a forest fire every time we get together
Oh must you tell me all your secrets,
When it's hard enough to love you knowing nothing?
The list could go on and on. Also finally the album would not be the album it is without the exemplary guitar playing of the vastly underrated Neil Clark.