Lloyd Cole and The Commotions – Cole, Blair Cowan, Lawrence Donegan, Neil Clark and Stephen Irvine – were formed in Glasgow in 1982, where Buxton-born singer-songwriter Cole was studying Philosophy and English at the University of Glasgow -Their sound swam against the tide of shiny 80s synthesisers, offering intense, melodic, guitar-based pop, topped with droll words packed with literary references.
By the time of Mainstream in October 1987, the group had taken a break and had spent time trying to find the right producer for their new material. Working with Ian Stanley, then fresh from the success of Tears For Fears' Songs From The Big Chair, the album allegedly cost ten times the budget of Rattlesnakes. Despite its 80s opulence – for example, guest appearances from Jon Hassell on trumpet, Tracey Thorn on vocals – it sounds untouched by the decade's excess. Its singles, My Bag, Jennifer She Said and From The Hip were all well received.
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