"Jesus of Cool was a jukebox, spinning out a series of perfectly crafted - and decidedly quirky and subversive - pop singles. In contrast, Nick Lowe's second album, Labour of Lust, is the work of a bar band, in this case Rockpile, playing the hell out of the same type of songs. Naturally, the result is a more coherent sound that may be a little less freewheelingly eclectic, but it is no less brilliant. Recorded simultaneously with Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary, Labour of Lust benefits from the muscular support of Rockpile, who make Lowe's songs crackle with vitality. Working primarily in the roots rock vein of Brinsley Schwarz but energizing his traditionalist tendencies with strong pop melodies, a sense of humor, and an edgy new wave sensibility, Lowe comes up with one of his best sets of songs. Not only is his only hit, the propulsively hook-laden "Cruel to Be Kind," here, but so are the rampaging outsider anthem "Born Fighter," the tongue-in-cheek, Chuck Berry-style "Love So Fine," the wonderful pure pop of "Dose of You," the haunting "Endless Grey Ribbon," the druggy "Big Kick, Plain Scrap!," and the terrific "Cracking Up," as well as his definitive version of Mickey Jupp's "Switchboard Susan." It's an exceptional collection of inventive pop songs, delivered with vigor and energy, making it one of the great records of the new wave. - Stephen Thomas, AMG"
bluesboy | st claire shores, michigan | 02/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"now I just picked this vinal album at a used record store for .94. I've only listened to the first side and I already love it. Especially crackin' up, big kick, plain scrap and american squirm. I've always been a fan of dave edmunds and am really happy with nicks style. I can't understand musical tastes of today. I'm starting to sound like my father. but I will always love this kind of music. thanks nick!
Lusty Labors...Out of Print?
Kevin Wollenweber | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is as good as JESUS OF COOL and deserves the kind of respect that album has now recently gotten. Yet, I'm seeing almost the entire list of first rate Nick Lowe albums as being discontinued? That's insane!! This man is *NOT* a one hit wonder. I'd seen him with his Cowboy Outfit band, opening for Elvis Costello (and promoting that particular album) and, that night, he blew Costello off the stage. I think that Elvis Costello was out on tour promoting his PUNCH THE CLOCK album. Nevertheless, there is no greater force out there than Nick Lowe with various configurations of Rock Pile, and I beg the record company owning the rights to these recordings to give this man his due. Perhaps plans are underway to do just that, but thus far, I haven't seen notice of those plans!!"
Another Smart Release
Pat Lamorgese | New Jersey | 04/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This release, featuring the Rockpile folks playing behind Nick, is the perfect companion to "Pure Pop For Now People" (also released as "The Jesus of Cool"). The playing is tight and sharp, especially the guitar work. It features the hit single "Cruel to Be Kind", penned by Lowe and Ian Gomm, which was inspired by the line "Got to be cruel to be kind" in the Kinks song "The Hard Way". Dave Edmunds can clearly be heard in the chorus of the next tune, "Cracking Up", which also received radio air play. "Big Kick" is another tune where Edmunds' vocals are strong on the background and chorus as is "Born Fighter". "You Make Me" is a slow song where Nick's echo layered voice stands alone against sparse acoustic guitar chords. "Switch Board Susan" is an interesting rocker written by another Stiff artist, Mickey Jupp. Nick took Mickey's original recording, stripped out his vocal lead, and over dubbed his own voice singing the song. I have never heard the Jupp version, but Nick's vocals are stellar. "Without Love" is a great pop song, which appeared in the movie "Americathon", with John Ritter and Harvey Korman among others. "Love So Fine" is a classic Nick tune, with a great shuffle beat. In all, this is almost as strong a release at "Pure Pop", and the perfect companion disk. Get it!!"