Broken Record (2010)
*I proud to highly
The inevitable split with the Commotions came in 1990. Cole’s ensuing solo career has seen him strip back his sound, recently to no more than guitar and computer, but 20 years on from his eponymous debut it appears that he wants some company again. Not that this album is anyone’s other than his – former Commotion Blair Cowan shares the solitary co-songwriting credit – but the contributions of his band members, including Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser’s wonderful vocals, bring a depth to his sound that has been recently lacking.
Living in the US has left its imprint on Cole, with touches of Dylan and Neil Young apparent across these gentle, country-flavoured songs. Slide guitar, banjo and harmonica feature heavily and he wears each well. In such a setting, wry digs at middle-class creative indulgence on Writers Retreat! ("you can write a book while falling apart") could induce audiences raised on more traditional Americana to embrace a once quintessentially English songwriter.
With the jangly daydreaming of 1984’s Perfect Skin in the distant past (the closest he gets to the Commotions era is the drifting That’s Alright), Cole is aware his bedsit fans now own homes, and hints with surprise at where he is in his own life: "I look like a million bucks / I ain’t worth quite that much / but you get the point." The title-track cannily avoids accusations of mid-life crisis, observing "not that I had much dignity anyway".
While Broken Record fails to match the lush string-laden heights of 1991’s Don’t Get Weird on Me Babe, it sometimes comes close, with the conversational Why in the World? pondering "maybe I’m not built for these towns", and If I Were a Song continuing the prevailing doubt: "will you still dance if I play?"
With Cole's rich baritone still able to rescue even the weakest of tracks, Broken Record is the sound of a man rediscovering his muse – and possibly even enjoying it. It’s a solid effort, adding to an already impressive back catalogue.
Eighties icon in punctuation jape! Another immaculate collection from rock’s most literate songwriter. Lloyd Cole writes songs that sound so natural they might have been plucked out of the air. This collection, backed by a band featuring Fred Maher, Blair Cowan from the Commotions and Joan ‘As Police Woman’ Wasser, is the strongest in a sequence of three excellent albums beginning with 2003′s ‘Music in a Foreign Language’ and including 2006′s ‘Antidepressant’. Incredible as it seems there are those that may be new to the Cole canon; this album is as good a place to start as any, it is the work of a man fully in charge of his mojo. Oh, nearly forgot – ‘Writers Retreat!’ / ‘Writer’s Retreat’. Let’s hope this doesn’t start a trend.
Born January 31, 1961. An English-born singer and songwriter, known for his role as lead singer of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions from 1984 to 1989 and for his subsequent solo work.
He was born in Buxton, Derbyshire. He grew up in nearby Chapel en le Frith and went to New Mills Grammar School. After failing in law at University College London, he later attended (but did not graduate from) the University of Glasgow, where he studied philosophy and English and met the other members of The Commotions. Their 1984 debut, Rattlesnakes, contained numerous literary and pop culture references to figures like Norman Mailer, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Truman Capote and Joan Didion. The group produced two more albums, Easy Pieces and Mainstream, before disbanding in 1989, when Cole re-located to New York to record with legendary musicians like Fred Maher and Robert Quine (as well as a then largely unknown Matthew Sweet).
This solo setting produced two acclaimed albums, Lloyd Cole in 1990 and 1991’s Don’t Get Weird on Me Babe. The latter was recorded in two parts: one side continued the New York rock mastered on his first solo album, while the other side featured a session orchestra, much in the style of Burt Bacharach or Scott Walker. Although some reviewers have claimed Don’t Get Weird on Me Babe (the title being a quote from the American neo-realism poet Raymond Carver) to be a creative peak, it produced significantly lesser record sales, and the contract with Capitol Records ended.
"One of my favorite
Pop Artist all times!"