Reissues like this are simply a joy to come across.
Daryl Easlea 2008-02-08
Released in March 1978, and Top 30 smash to boot, Jesus Of Cool was notable for finally finding a niche for Nick Lowe, who'd been something of a pop journeyman since his days in '60s group, Kippington Lodge, and early '70s underachievers, Brinsley Schwarz. Intended as something of a showcase for his talent, the album was the premier release on Jake Rivera's new label, Radar, after his and Lowe's departure from the label Rivera help found, Stiff.
Lowe wasn't called 'Basher' for nothing. Made with old and current mates such as Larry Wallis, Dave Edmunds and Pete Thomas dropping by, if there was one thing this pushing-30 veteran had in common with the new tide of punk urchins he'd produced; it was the album's urgency. These are great pieces of minor poetry and snarling R&B.
Here was music made by men who'd been round the block several times, enjoying themselves, while flicking hearty V-signs to the major labels, where they had all previously been involved to a greater or lesser extent. The witty T.Rex-referencing Music For Money sums up the cynical machinations of the music industry, sung by a sceptic with a good heart. The influence of another bass player, Paul McCartney, is extremely prevalent implicitly in the pop hooks of So It Goes and Marie Provost and very explicitly on Nutted By Reality, which still sounds like a composite of every-mid paced mid-period McCartney ballad. Bonuses include the Stiff Records-admiring I Love My Label, the tracks from the Bowi EP (named after Bowie released Low - see what he did there?) as well as The Tartan Horde's Rollers Show, Lowe's pseudonymous tribute to the teen phenomenon that had recently put his old band out of step.
Reissues like this are simply a joy to come across. When you think quite how feted and overplayed his major peers' works are of a similar vintage – Ian Dury's New Boots and Panties and Elvis Costello's This Year’s Model – you realise how under-exposed Jesus Of Cool has been. Because of this, its songs sound all the more vibrant and surprising. The album certainly lived up to its US title: Pure Pop For Now People.