LLOYD Cole, an arch lyricist with film stars and writers, creates a moment of magic tonight with somebody else’s words.

When Lloyd does M Ward’s Chinese Translation – “What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart? And how can a man like me remain in the light?” – he nearly pickpockets the killer moment from his own show’s black slacks.

Except the second this magic moment stops dead with the lines about how an old man “plays for me this song”, he steals it back. Cue Brand New Friend.

This delicate ditty about walking in the pouring rain with Jesus and Jane in her turtleneck is, in many ways, the essence of Lloyd.

It oozes youthful exuberance, the need to be loved and, above all, how we’re all trying to cling on to both.

He was much happier then.

Here is a fiftysomething man who admits that the first song he wrote in the first person that addressed the corduroy grasp of middle age came in 1987 – aged 26.

Alone with his guitar, he concedes that having been coming to Tyneside for 27 years, each time it occurs it might be his last.

It’s mock maudlin but he’s got no regrets, living in a big house in New England and, fortunately, hasn’t disappeared so deeply into golf- swinging American clubhouses that he’s forgotten how to write a tune.

And with If I Were A Song (from his last album, Broken Record), it seems his writing is still growing, maturing. It’s a wonderful – dare I say poetic – conceit. Don’t give up on us, Lloyd, when you’re writing things like this.

His banter’s still good too. No, the tache isn’t for Movember, it’s to hide his gut. His haircut – or lack of it – is due to his family being traumatised in the recent US storms … while he was golfing miles away. When he got back he couldn’t find his barber.

And yes, he’s a doing a Dorian Grey in reverse, his face ageing, his voice as good as 25 years ago. He’s right too.

This – he had this coming – contemporary cross between Orson Welles and Bob Carolgees (there’s no way this’ll go up on his website now), has still got a velvet-lined tint to his tonsils.

Rattlesnakes, Charlotte Street and 2CV are all wonderful examples of his old 80s pomp. Stripped back, they shine in the dark.

Music In a Foreign Language and Young Idealists (soon to be on an Occupy Wall Street benefit LP, he reveals), stand out from the new ones on offer.

He forgets his lyrics, as usual, and finishes with Lost Weekend and Forest Fire. I couldn’t have asked for much more.

by David Whetstone, The Journal

Link to original article online

Publication: Journal Live

Publication date: 09/11/11