Lowe's second album set aside some of the studio and production hijinks of his debut in favor of a louder, rougher-edged overall sound. He was playing at the time in Rockpile and the band would alternate between recording Lowe's and fellow member Dave Edmund's albums. Lowe's songwriting was equal to the task of this monstrous band at their peak. In fact, "Big Kick, Plain Scrap" could never have existed without this band. From those enormous drums to the pure pop of "Cruel To Be Kind," this album is everything the first was, shined to perfection and turned up to eleven (when need be). Edmund's twanging guitar in particular is shimmering throughout. Sadly, this album was also his last with Rockpile. "You Make Me" hints at the quieter moments he was soon to begin exploring more fully.
Spin (p.80) - "LABOUR OF LUST was Lowe's breakthrough, deftly blending pop, rock, country, and wry humor..."
CMJ (1/5/04, p.6) - Ranked #10 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1979".
Record Collector (magazine) (p.91) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] sparkling set of bouncy guitar-based pop....LABOUR OF LUST was very much a band affair."
Uncut (magazine) (p.85) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[F]ull of witty cynicism and self-loathing on the subject of shagging, boozing and cracking up in America."