NOT only is the latest Lloyd Cole solo album very good, but it could be described as being one for the fans; after all, they paid for it. Partly financed by pre-orders for the deluxe version of an album that had yet to be recorded, this leap of faith by the Cole faithful has paid off in spades. Broken Record has Cole back with a band that includes former Commotion, Blair Cowan, and sounding pretty chipper after a long solo career that was getting a little concerning; too many albums were either acoustic, too folky and/or recorded at home on his laptop. Reflecting his adopted home in the US, there are beautiful traces of Americana and country throughout the album, lending the already laid-back Cole an even more easy feel, courtesy of some pedal steel and mandolin. Westchester County Jail and Rhinestones are the most indicative of this country and western mode, while Writers Retreat! and Oh Genevieve are more familiar echoes of the sort of jaunty bittersweet love songs that Cole was better known for in the days of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. He may be older and greyer but the songs are as funny and smart as anything he recorded back when he was causing a commotion. Sorry, but we are talking about the man who rhymed “Read Norman Mailer” with “or get a new tailor”.

Tom Jellett

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Publication: The Australian

Publication date: 05/03/11