Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nick Lowe, Labour of Lust

I was a little surprised at the “hosannas” that greeted the recent re-release of Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool. I thought it was a tight album, acerbic in the same manner, if not quite as memorably, as his studio compatriot Elvis Costello. The 2008 CD kept the cheeky gatefold intact, and nearly doubled the original album length with extra tracks, few of which sounded like filler. But it took several plays before it made me a nominal believer. I was left with the impression that to really dig this album, the listener probably had to be there when it first came out. And 1978 was juuuuuust a little too early for me.

This year's re-release of Labour of Lust, on the other hand, I can get quite excited about — because I was there, doncha know. Lowe's acidic wit still burns, but Labour's production has a little more shine than Jesus did. It's got bounce and intelligence, but doesn't wear the latter so baldly as to distract from the former — the appropriate balance for any labour of lust, I should think.

Labour of Lust is this year's spring-cleaning soundtrack.

Update: I'm guessing Josh Hurst is a decade or two younger than I, but when it comes to Jesus Of Cool, Hurst is a True Believer. His thoughts on Lowe's ouevre are worth reading. So is his take on Labour of Lust.

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