Lloyd Cole — “Antidepressant” (One Little Indian) ***

Call it musical Zoloft and you’re pretty much right on the money in describing English singer-songwriter Cole’s mood-lifting studio effort, which quickly brings to mind some of his classic ’80s work with his former band the Commotions.

One of his best sounding, most fully realized recordings in many years, “Antidepressant” seems particularly personal, no doubt due to Cole spending some 18 months laying down most of the vocal, guitar and drum tracks himself, a laborious effort that has a sweet payoff.

Confronting feelings of middle-aged disillusionment with the wit and wisdom of a gone-to-seed romantic, the 45-year-old Cole can find dry humor amid his most dire thoughts. The best case-in-point is “Woman in a Bar,” filled with caustic self-observations (“no longer angry, no longer young, no longer driven to distraction, even by Scarlett Johansson”), and sporting a jaunty string arrangement that keeps the mood from becoming too gloomy.

What a shame that a songwriter this intelligent and incisive has been flying under the radar, commercially speaking, for a good 20 years now. If you fondly recall some of Cole’s hits from two decades ago (“Perfect Skin,” “Are You Ready to be Heartbroken”), or even if you’re just tired of waiting for Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry to release something fresh, you could definitely benefit from a little “Antidepressant.”
By Martin Bandyke

Publication: Detroit Free Press

Publication date: 05/11/06