After his unsuccessful half-orchestral, half rock’n’roll Don’t Get Weird on Me, Babe album, Lloyd Cole has scaled down his ambitions on Bad Vibes with much better results. The title notwithstanding, his third solo album is musically restrained after the slashing opener, Morning is Broken.

Dominated by guitars – electric, acoustic and pedal steel – the sound is eclectic, with shades of the Beatles, Neil Young, Matthew Sweet, who plays on the album, and even Grant Lee Buffalo on the 8-minute country-blues Can’t Get Arrested.

What’s most bracing about Bad Vibes is Cole’s cutting wit, which has seen him through his Commotions period until now, even if his insights aren’t always revealing.

The best example here is So You’d Like To Save the World, in which he tells a date: “You might call it ultra-violet radiation/It’s only sunlight,” then gets to the nitty-gritty: “If you could free my inner child/Then I could free your inhibitions, baby.”

The love song My Way to You, with its “I found you” refrain, is delectable despite its hackneyed origins while the woozy Wild Mushrooms is about lovers doing “wild things” and liking it.

Publication: Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)

Publication date: 23/12/93