Lloyd Cole
Music in a Foreign Language (One Little Indian)

English singer-songwriter Cole is a cult artist in the United States, even though 1984 debut “Rattlesnakes,” with his band the Commotions, showed breakout potential. Maybe he’s too smart, too cynical and too much the embittered romantic to ever cross over to a large audience. It has taken several months for this solo album to reach U.S. shores, even though it got rave reviews overseas last summer.

The strikingly moody “Music in a Foreign Language” is a subdued, uncluttered recording, with Cole’s ethereal vocals, guitar and keyboards carrying most of the album. The most notable special guest is original Commotions guitarist Neil Clark. Themes of regret and defeat flow throughout many songs, but Cole’s pithy, self-deprecating observations prevent the album from collapsing into self-pity.

Look soon for reissues of his previous two studio recordings, never before released in this country: the all-instrumental “Plastic Wood” and the demos-and-covers compilation “Etc.”

Publication: Baltimore Sun

Publication date: 04/15/04