For the past decade, Lloyd Cole has led a solitary existence career-wise, performing solo shows and recording albums at home.

But for his new album Broken Record, his best in years, he recruited a team of old friends and new collaborators and recorded in a New York studio. Enjoying the company, he has gone on tour with his Small Ensemble, with guitarists Mark Schwaber and MattCullen, who double up on mandolin and banjo.

At the Old Fruitmarket – where Lloyd once worked when it was a fruit market – their counter melodies gave a new beauty to past hits like Forest Fire and Rattlesnakes, and helped Cole relax as they took the focus off him.

New songs Writers Retreat and Like A Broken Record held up well against past hits such as No Blue Skies and So You’d Like To Save The World.

As an added bonus, ex-Commotions keyboard player Blair Cowan joined them on accordion for an encore of new song Man Overboard and the classic Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? Cole’s solo shows are always a treat but the added musicianship made this aparticularly memorable show.

Publication: Sunday Mail; Glasgow

Publication date: 01/11/10