Lloyd Cole at Sale Waterside Arts Centre – 9/10
James Bentley (gig: 27/11/05)

Some brands sell you a lifestyle in an instant. They portray a world that’s so perfect in every tiny, minuscule detail that you can’t help but be drawn into them.

Lloyd Cole’s back catalogue – which amazingly stretches back 21 years now – is a treasure trove which does exactly the same.

No-one has ever quite made melancholy dispositions sound as appealing as the Bard of Buxton. The man wronged by his woman is a constant in Cole’s writing which must surely make his fans yearn for torrid love affairs.

And when these songs are sung with the most basic of acoustic accompaniment – as in Sale – they take on a freakishly haunting feel. You could almost imagine some of the songs playing on a nickel-a-go jukebox in an Edward Hopper painting.

The biggest cheers of the evening are reserved for Cole’s re-visit to the songs he made with his former backing group, the Commotions.

Lloyd Cole
A drunken heckle elicits a superb version of Forest Fire. Other stripped–bare versions of Brand New Friend, Jennifer She Said, with added audience participation, and a still-sublime Perfect Skin are warmly received.

But new songs from Cole’s later canon are met with encouragement. Unreleased tune Young Idealists is one to watch and songs from an album that struggled to see the light of day after contractual issues are met with a combination of warm applause and delight for people who know the album deserves wider exposure.

All this, together with between-song banter that’s as dry as the Sahara and a heartfelt tribute to George Best leaves an audience with their money’s worth.

Cole’s last album was the delicate Music In A Foreign Language – and it’s a language that speaks to many people about one of the country’s greatest hidden talents.

Link to original article online

Publication: bbc.co.uk

Publication date: 24/11/2005