"Opposites Day" is noisy and grating.
I've been sitting back waiting to get my hands on the album, reading the recording notes in the studio journal getting more than excited about the team reuniting that brought my favourite Lloyd Cole album into the world: the 'X' solo album.
There has been a delay in getting the album to my far flung shores, and I'm optimistic it will arrive soon, so I didn't get the full experience of running from the mailbox to pore over the packaging, reading the lyrics and listing on my main stereo before my first listen, instead an mp3 extravaganza thanks in part to Lloyd when he read of my plight.
Do I expect it to be better than any album since Rattlesnakes-a very high benchmark? or do I expect it to better than any of Lloyd's albums, time will tell.
So here I am listening to it as cd quality mp3. It comes in just right with California Earthquake, not an original, but like Lloyd's covers has a part of Lloyd in the sound, and the band make it their own. This one jumps out of the blocks...
Woman's Studies is already a favourite, instantly catchy, I read telling tales from Lloyd's past. This one can stand tall in Lloyd's catalogue. I'm listening to all the parts, drums are crisp on the speakers I'm using. I believe it tells stories of some of the younger Lloyd's less salubrious times...? or the way he is trying to remember it.
Period Piece starts off with the bassline from Talking Heads Psycho Killer, Dylanesque, and I love the keyboard near the end, the band is tight, lyrics about the Berlin wall, good song, drums are crisp on this one, but not quite a single, no real chorus. Clever lyrics about the Berlin wall.
Myrtle and Rose, seems to be cropping up on many people's favourite lists-but it is a slower song on this 'rocking' album. That is fine, I love it too, and can there be slower songs on a band album? there were on the 'x' album yes so why not. The guitar washes over, the German Car lyrical reference returns-this could be from Antidepressant.
No Truck has a beautiful melody, and it is not a rocking song, but is enhanced from the version that appears on the Lloyd and Will Cole acoustic session, there is a depth given by the band. Guitar solo is worth the price of admission alone.
Blue Like Mars-WOW holy FUCK this song really moved me when I first listened to it last night. Mushy drums(through artistic intent as the other drums on the album not so mushy)-I would like to hear it with a more straightforward drum mix also-(this may be on my ep-when it arrives?) It starts out with a bit of the sound of No Blue Skies and soars from there, then it progresses to a sound like that of the Negatives. The guitar blows me away. The way extra speed is put into the solo starts off slow, then hammers quickly and unconventionally. This song is my current favourite. It is the song that builds on you over repeated listens showing a bit more depth each time.
Opposites Day-Lovely Stereo guitar at the start and this combined with Blue Like Mars help re lift the album from the slower songs that preceded it. The guitar part prior to 'fall in love with me' sounds like a mix of Bowie and Neil Finn. Slightly oriental sound for the the guitar in general. I think I would have liked the drums further out in the mix. Backup vocals on this album are utilised very well. The guitar part is also not standard-and this is good.
Silver Lake-some people have this as a favourite-some think too slow and pained...Me I like the melotron sound and that is enough to keep me happy. I like it on this early listen. The drum does sound a little muffled, but I guess that is the sound they were going for.
Its Late-Lloyd doesn't usually write straightforward songs. Lloyd once wrote he was playing a wedding, I laughed, what kind of romantic song could he play, you look at the back catalogue and there is nothing so straightforward. Even the most romantic song in title ends up being far from romantic. 'Like Lover's Do'. The thing with Lloyd's lyrics and the reason I think he is such a good songwriter is that no song is straightforward. I can listen to current radio and sing the words of a new song before they have sung them, they are that obvious. This song seems to fall into that that trap, very straightforward. It is good however to hear Lloyd trying something different lyrically, I wasn't expecting it to be so straightforward, and good to have a romantic song, not a favourite, though I love the guitar sound.
Kids Today-I think this one has been waiting around in the wings for a while, it to does not do it for me at this stage, a little too straightforward without the peaks of the earlier songs on the album. With time it may move up the rankings?
Diminshed Ex-this one is a good way to close out the album, some good guitar parts, and to me some good phrasing. I will like this one more and more as I hear it.
In all I'm loving this album. I was mindblown on first listen. Lloyd's lyrics will provide more depth on further plays, and the guitar parts are amazing. I am just so happy to hear Lloyd playing again with a band. It is the value of the supporters that got him here with pre orders, and future sales may even see a band on the road. Lloyd's music has been attached to so many memories in my life, this album will continue to add to future memories and music that moves me. Lyrically strong with a thought and craft. I wish Lloyd all the best with it, he deserves it. What can I say other than I love it.
I will do another review when the Deluxe edition comes. Please also support the music-tell your friends.
Title: STANDARDS...what a beauty!
Dear Mr. Cole,
getting more nervous closer to the release date i received my limited double copy last Friday.
I´m deeply overwhelmed by these songs. Always loved your acoustic tunes but the new songs have such a deepness and power, they sound perfect to my ears.
Myrtle and Rose is one of the best songs you´ve ever written...i can´t stop listening to it.
I can feel you are 100% satisfied with the "product"!
So i´m looking forward to your shows in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
I bow my head in respect!
What a Surprise. A wonderful Album which will be better every time I hear it.
Standards is not a typical Cole album and that s what I like. The starter sounds like a Steve Wynn one, but the next, one of my faves Woman s Studies shows, what a wonderful LP we all get.
Thanks for the EP Double Disc. It s incredible to hear the different versions. I love your new (and old) Rhythem section. Fred is a quite and very good drummer and Matthew for me, one of the best bass players in the world.
Today, my personal faves are Woman s Studies, Periot Piece and Blue Like Mars (which will be a hit single, im shure).
I hope to get the chance to see you again with a band on tour.
All the best for you and THANK YOU AGAIN for another BRILLIANT ALBUM!
Language: Try English
Title: A Fan...
... Who doesn't love Standards .... Is not a true fan.
To be honest, I was only lukewarm with Broken Record.
This one is a steamy love affair!
Fresh, catchy, exciting - music at its best. It has all virtues that made LC one of my all time favs.
This year is a great one for fans - and I'm sure also for LC.
Thanks for this unexpected gift!
Title: Fans vary
I loved Broken Record from first listen, but am warming up slowly to Standards.
IMHO a true fan accepts that one 'can't love everysong'. What draws us together is our enjoyment of Lloyd's work as a whole, regardless of our favourites or the occasional songs that we'll never play again.
Language: Try English
Title: Fair enough, heida
Maybe you're right. Maybe I should revisit Broken Record.
But right now I'm busy. Busy with enjoying and listening to Standards: song pearls, unspectacular at first sight. But listen to them: the harmonies, melodies, the tension, emotions, the drum sound, guitars guitars guitars, LC's voice, perfectly crafted, the lyrics, the joy of playing. Certainly there are weaknesses: the "lalalallalal" in It's late is probably - too obvious.
Well, forget about it. This is a great collection of music.
A Classic, for me.
But you're right: maybe I should revisit Broken Record.
But then again, I mightas well be busy listening to Butterfly, Like Lovers Do, Forest Fire, my Other Life, Woman in A Bar, Man on the Verge, ...
Well done can't remember when I last enjoyed a LC album as much. I've got pretty much everything and enjoy them all but I wasn't expecting my drive to work to be so upbeat. Loved the guitars, the drums and after a couple of listens a few stand out tracks Blue Like Mars, Women's Studies, Myrtle and Rose. Keep up the good work, dusting off my X CD. Roll back the years.
Title: It's an album!!!
What I've really been appreciating about Standards is what an actual ALBUM it is. Not only are they great songs, but they make sense together and they're sequenced in a pleasing way that makes you feel like you've actually moved from one place to another over the course of the 11 tracks. Part of this is what I saw LC refer to in a recent interview: the limited palette of sounds in the arrangements. As he said, you can have pretty much any sound you want on a record easily in this day and age, so the challenge becomes limiting that and using them well. When I think about it, No Truck and It's Late could have made sense on Broken Record, but the arrangements make them fit really well with these others. Nice work, LC.
Title: Gold Standard
If they ever do McCabe and Mrs. Miller circa 2013, this is your soundtrack! From the apocalyptic Mama Cass Sylmar quake inspired opener to the Pat Garret and Billy the Kid flourishes on the closer, the faultline runs right through my old smog covered So Cal childhood of the early 70s. Others may notice a similarity to X, or the Late Night Early Town guitar progression (though not ending on a minor chord like the former) of Myrtle and Rose; however, this album (do we still use that word?) is sui generis.
Title: Deluxe edition...
... any details?
Plus, I‘d like to know if there are some copies left (this time I sadly missed the deadline).
Title: generation motorola chic!
Really tight record - good songs throughout and hangs together nicely. Enjoying it from the first song to the last. Spendid work.
Title: hopefully it will grow on me
. . . just sounds dull and a bit lumpy and wooden to me. . . listened a couple of times now and. . . never had to wait for an LC album grow on me before (ok maybe Bad Vibes and Don't Get Weird) so this is a bit disconcerting. . . I don't do FB so I've no idea what those idiots are saying. . . maybe it's a great album and I'm the idiot. . .
Title: Lloyd is back in the UK album charts
Today I read that Lloyd's new album is a new entry in the UK album charts at no. 74. It is his first UK top 75 album hit since "The Collection" back in 1998. I hope he will make it at least into the top 50 next week (fingers crossed).
JensM in Bochum/Germany
Title: My God!!
Listened to Standards for the first time last night. Its awesome from the first to last. I love the fact that as a guy introduced to Rattlesnakes by my brother only 10 years ago, this is instantly recognisable. Its just as clever and just as catchy. Im going to see Lloyd in leeds in october. Cannot wait!
Title: the drums. . . .
are too loud. . . especially the kick. . . they're giving me a headache. . . I think I love the songs though. . .
Title: The Lloyd Cole Pages review Standards
Fantastic album, couldn't be happier with this, had it on all week non stop, have reviewed at the link above. To your good health Mr.Cole , and thank you.
Blog neglecting, guilty as charged....but loyal.
Title: Audacious title justified
Before I heard your new release, two things confused me:
1. The title. "Standards" -- really? How audacious or foolish could a songwriter of your knowledge & abilities be to give his new release such a title? Well ... now that I hear it, I understand. "Standards", indeed!
2. My other confusion concerned your comment, Lloyd, that this might possibly be your final album for commercial release. We seem to have heard that before from you (Broken Record, methinks?) But after hearing "Standard", I think I understand. Perhaps you meant something along these lines: "If I write songs of this quality and record them to the level best of my abilities, but the music-listening and music-buying public won't salute it in sufficient quantities, why keep trying?" I hope they do, Lloyd, because the world needs music this beautifully written & realized.
Thank you for your dedication to your craft. I am among those listening, and we deeply appreciate what you're doing.
Title: Independent Albums Chart
Standards is #17 on the British Independent Albums Chart 2 spots ahead of Adele (really???) for the week of July 6, 2013.
Title: Standards revisited
So much has been said about this beautiful collection of music.
One more thing:
Mr. Cole, you're a gifted man.
Privilege and obligation, indeed.
Title: Sleeve notes?
Hi Lloyd - really enjoying the new album, stand-out track for me is Blue Like Mars (and I thought Period Piece was clever) but enjoying all of it on heavy rotation.....
I bought it as an MP3 download from Amazon, the drawback of course being no sleeve notes.
At the time of Love Story I got hold of some notes which (I think) were part of a press pack - a paragraph of your notes explaining what you'd written each song about. I wondered if you had anything similar for Standards you could post on the site?
To me this album is an instant classic, very much like the first solo, I get that same urge to speed on the highway with the top down. I really love this record. Great melodies and throwback style (It's late) guitar is wonderful.
I love Antidepressant, Like Broken Record, but this is the best in a long time. Kid's today - what a track! Thanks for a great bunch of tunes, I will be playing it over and over and over and over until the words are emblazoned in my mind.
Title: Diminshed Ex
Just heard Diminished Ex on Pandora. Outstanding! Great to hear some airplay.
Title: Lovely album but ugly drums
Definitly such a good album, i really do love it, except the awful drums. The hi-hat sounds like a chain saw, the snare drum like a rotten tomato that splashes on the ground ! And I do not like the heavy play of the drummer, and the drums are mixed too loud. It's a pity, it would have been great with the drummer from "Bad Vibes", the best I'v heard on a LC album.