LEAVING HIS Commotions behind in Glasgow, Scottish songsmith Lloyd Cole moved to New York for his first solo album and enlisted such Lou Reed sidemen as drummer Fred Maher (who also co-produced) and guitarist Robert Quine. The resulting album, just called “Lloyd Cole,” doesn’t exactly bristle with street-hassle vigor, though. A mournful, almost country-western sound inflects the whole album’s languid spirit. When Cole delivers a line like “You’re a punch-drunk sycophant, a little SOB,” he half-smiles when he sings it.

None of this, of course, is a radical departure for Cole. Indeed, except for its twang-bar guitar solo, a song like “Ice Cream Girl” (co-written by ex-Commotion Blair Cowan) could be an outtake from any Commotions platter. That rain may be falling on Bleecker Street in “What Do You Know About Love?,” but it might just as well be Glasgow.

Moody, low-key and (not unappealingly) drowsy, this long (13 songs, three over five minutes) album is almost too too Lloyd Cole, complete with such characteristically literary put-downs as “Baby, you’re too well-read.” A few more songs that aspire to the rambunctiousness of “Sweetheart” or “I Hate to See You Baby Doing That Stuff” would be welcome.

Publication: The Washington Post

Publication date: 15/06/90