Exploring the Library: Review of The Raincoats

In the third installment of the Exploring the Library series, one stellar volunteer slugs through the depths of the music library to (re)present this British post-punk album by The Raincoats. Check out Olivia’s contemporary take on this 1979 oldie below!


Album: The Raincoats
Artist: The Raincoats
Label: Rough Trade Records
Year: 1979


Love it or hate it, music made by the Raincoats is hard to ignore. The self-titled album from the British post-punk band sparks with strange, dissonant, at times barely restrained energy—whether it’s in the cleverly interlocking vocal harmonies or the screechy violin that periodically pierces the songs. The Raincoats are a band that clearly know their rock antecedents; the frenetic saxophone on “Black and White” recalls early Roxy Music, while the wry cover of “Lola” by the Kinks replaces the raucousness of the original with a more winking kind of subversion. But the Raincoats are just as much invested in playing with listeners’ expectations of what a good rock album should sound like as they are in paying homage to them. The production is ramshackle, and at times the band sounds like they are on the verge of falling apart altogether, spinning off the base of their clattery percussion and frantic melodies. But it’s all intentional, filled with a thrilling sense of agency—as the words to “Adventures Close to Home” remind us, “I choose my own fate / I follow love / I follow hate.”


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Key tracks: “Lola,” “You’re A Million,” “Adventures Close to Home


Review by Olivia Wood

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