The Raincoats
The Raincoats


5.0
classic

Review

by DarthJames USER (8 Reviews)
October 28th, 2013 | 50 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Serious contenders for the most loveable band ever

Now I don't take that summary lightly, and I'm sure there are many who would disagree. After all the raincoats are a post punk band in the 'do-it-yourself' vein of "here's three chords, go start a band". Which, of course, means for some discord - there's no escaping it.

Commonly compared to other bands in a similar mind frame such as the slits, and this comparison isn't solely based on the fact each group's lineup are all women (while the slits are commonly considered as the pioneers of 'riot grrrl', the raincoats were another of the sub genre's innovators) but also because each group were not 'musically trained'. I mean this in the sense they were inspired by the huge punk and post-punk bands of their era (they lived in 'rough trade' london and other acts like the pop group from bristol and american outfits like pere ubu were 'blooming') and this meant they picked up instruments with no knowledge of how to play them, and taught themselves.

This is most evident in palmolive's frantic and tribal based drumming, percussive and heavy use of the toms as a driving force in the songs (I think the drumming's great by the way), when she does move to a more traditional rock groove its jumpy and seems as if she's intensely concentrating - she was the former drummer of the slits, who were heavily inspired by tribal percussion. Although in Gina Birch's serenely melodic bass lines, Ana Da Silva's fractured, jerky guitar (which may or may not be on purpose) and Vicky Aspinall's chirpy string section you wouldn't be able to tell of their lack of musical training - it just sounds like skilled players having some fun.

But that is really part of the appeal, where the Slits used that spiky sound to comes across like tribals, the raincoats use their naivety to create a fuzzy sense of fun. Sometimes a certain word never used to describe punk comes to mind, dare I say it, but sometimes the raincoats are even 'cute'.
It's a shocker. In an unpatronising way, it's bloody adorable. And that is a very unique thing.
That's why this album's such a definitive classic, it has all these interesting ways of dealing with and writing music, strange rhythms and jerky instruments, off tune but catchy vocals, the unique sound of a violin in punk music (which adds more 'foot-tapping' appeal) and that sense of fun that underlines the entire album.

If you're listening to the re-issue it starts with their single 'fairytale in the supermarket', a bouncy song and a great intro, but the track listing is confusing on the back and out of place - it puts fairytale as the last track. This album is probably most commonly known for the Raincoat's strange and off-kilter version of the Kinks' 'Lola', a charmingly jumpy and unique cover of a song that seems to be covered all the time. 'The void' (a great slow burning track) way also covered by Hole, and on the inner sleeve notes there is high praise from fan Kurt Cobain who says the album made him 'very happy at a time when I was (shall we say) very sad."

That statement itself is testament to the Raincoats' 'fun factor', it even cheered an adolescent Kurt Cobain up! The odd melodies are infectious, try not to smile as you listen to the excellent album closer 'no looking', or the superb bass line of 'black and white'.

Even though the album itself was produced by Mayo Thompson (from that brilliant 60s psychedelic band 'the red krayola') the songs are never over long (often they seem too short!) and never ever pretentious - hidden within are examinations of women's rights and other political subjects, but they are never over-examined and often wry observations.

The Raincoats sound like a band having fun making music in a process unique to them, and listening to the album (to quote a Mr Cobain) is like "listening in on a band... spying in on them and if I get caught everything will be ruined because its their thing". They really a classic band that have crafted a classic and infectiously fun album of simplistic riffs and rhythms organised in a unique and interesting way.

It won't be to everyone's taste, but for those who get sucked in to that little world of the Raincoats might just find spying on them gloriously fun and entertaining.
The album's an immensely satisfying listen and a landmark of the post-punk scene, it needs more attention.
So serious contenders for the most loveable band of all time, I stand by that.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
porch
October 28th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good record, gonna listen to it now actually

NorthernSkylark
April 24th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, I would recommend this to anyone with functioning ears (who probably also enjoys an occasional slice of VU)



This is just great fun! Couldn't believe my luck when I stumbled on this one in the supermarket.





Digging: Billy Bragg and Wilco - Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2

Cygnatti
May 10th 2014


33015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

need to jam this more often

NorthernSkylark
May 10th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you really do, it's my go-to album!



Their cover of Lola is so good it's implausible

InfamousGrouse
May 10th 2014


4341 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this one never really clicked with me

NorthernSkylark
May 10th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hit play, abandon dismay

Pheromone
June 10th 2014


7423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

need to jam

Digging: Yanka Dyagileva - ???????!

Pheromone
June 17th 2014


7423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their version of Lola is crazy good

NorthernSkylark
June 18th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes, it's the best I've heard yet, also:



But honey don't you worry, no don't you worry

This is just a fairytale

hap-pe-ning iiin

the suuupeeermaaarrket

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014


17657 Comments


this is good even if like some of you other guys I don't -particularly- click with it. I love "the void" and "in love" though. and I love the album cover

NorthernSkylark
August 28th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

He took cigarette from his packet

He lit cigarette with his matches

He blew smoke rings with the smoke

Without looking at me

Without talking to me

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2014


17657 Comments


in! in! in! in! love! love! love! love!

NorthernSkylark
August 28th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

a clock! a clock! a clock!

InfamousGrouse
September 10th 2014


4341 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

first listen in 14 months, lets see if this is any more impressionable

InfamousGrouse
September 10th 2014


4341 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

as it transpires my 3.0 was slightly generous

NorthernSkylark
September 10th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok

InfamousGrouse
September 10th 2014


4341 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

what's there to love about this skylark dude? help me see the light

NorthernSkylark
September 10th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you don't like it, you don't like it. But their cover of Lola is a good place to start, it's just a refreshing take on an old classic. allthroughout it has great energy and a fun vibe. engaging lyrics, off-kilter melodies and no bad songs

Pheromone
September 10th 2014


7423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

LOLA

L O L A LOLA



Yeah, I've heard a lot more interesting Post-Punk. But then again, I've heard a lot worse.

NorthernSkylark
September 11th 2014


9599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is just / a faaaaiirryyyytaaaalleeee / haaap-pe-nniing in



the suuuupeeerrmaaaaarkeeet



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