We managed numbers 11, 63 and 86 in the right order. So we were robbed and flattered.

Does a Scottish singer qualify a “foreign” band for inclusion? In the case of Garbage, it seems to: and fairly, since that group’s cold electronica is brought alive by the personality of its frontwoman, Shirley Manson. Turn the kaleidoscope the other way, and consider Lloyd Cole. Without the Commotions, he is an English singer whose digestive system has yet to fully dissolve the lyrical roughage of Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. Add the Commotions, and stick Lloyd in context as a graduate of Glasgow University in the mid-1980s, and Rattlesnakes becomes a snappy, literate reminder of everything that was good about Glaswegian pop at a time when Glaswegian pop was supposed, not entirely erroneously, to be the bees’ knees.

Cole may have retired to the manicured golf courses of the American midwest, but his albums with the Commotions are a high-tide mark of a brand of jangly pop that was nurtured on the Postcard label by Alan Horne, and which led – through Orange Juice and Aztec Camera – to a club of freaks which includes the Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, Travis and Belle and Sebastian. Temporarily out of favour, but an important stop on this branch line, are Del Amitri, who made the mistake of a) becoming popular and b) growing beards.

Publication: The Scotsman

Publication date: 16/10/03