- 14 Aug 19
Solid Song Writing Saves The Day
It’s been a while since the glory days of The Commotions but Lloyd Cole keeps on quite successfully trucking along, this being his twelfth solo studio album. While one might long for that stone cold classic Rattlesnakes sound, or even early solo high water mark, 1991’s Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe, Mr Cole is somewhere else. This is a mostly electronic album but before you run screaming out of the room because you sat through the collection of ambient collaborative sketches, 1D Electronics, stand assuaged as Cole has remembered to write a few songs this time around.
Opening track ‘The Over Under’ builds up nicely with the help of some delicate guitar across its seven minutes, and ‘Remains’ does something similar. In those two songs at least, and the closing ‘The Loudness Wars’, one can hear echoes of Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon, most especially his grand folly/masterpiece I Trawl The Megahertz, and elements of The Blue Nile. ‘Violins’ borrows every so slightly in its backing from Bowie’s ‘V-2 Schneider’ and that sounds like fellow Commotion Neil Clark putting his ‘Forest Fire’ guitar through a Robert Fripp filter.
The blips and beeps of the electronics threaten to overwhelm the title track, ‘The Afterlife’, ‘When I Came Down From The Mountain’ – which might have, at a push, fitted on the end of Leonard Cohen’s eighties albums – and the New Order-y ‘Moments And Whatnot’ but the songwriting keeps their collective heads above the water. That’s a matter of taste though, some listeners might argue it’s the arrangements that make it all work. Still, no matter on which side you fall, Cole’s way with a tune, and that familiar voice, are always worth your time.