When the self-titled “Jesus of Cool” hit upon 1979’s Labour of Lust, Nick Lowe was riding the tidal wave of production
perfection (Elvis Costello’s best) and pop song craft. Still, this? The acoustic
strum and smarm of “Cruel to Be Kind” (his only real hit). His pinched nasal
vocals on “Cracking Up” and his processed growl through the click of “Big Kick,
Plain Scrap.” The swish of “American Squirm” and the crackle of Lowe’s Rockpile
(guitarists Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner, plus drummer Terry Williams)
Perfection. Best, though, was the utter simplicity of the
echoing “You Make Me” where you can hear every lick of Lowe’s wet lips slapping
against his teardrops. Ahhh.
Unlike Yep Roc’s vastly expanded 2008 reissue of Jesus of Cool, this skimps on bonus
material, but luckily the cuts not on earlier CD reissues – B-side “Basing
Street” and Lowe classic “American Squirm” – are gems.
Make Me,” “Skin Deep” A.D. AMOROSI