3 stars (out of 5)

Lloyd Cole has returned from a 10-year “self-imposed exile as a would-be folk-singer” with an album celebrating the interplay of a full band, while also reminding us of his slick song-writing abilities.

Utilising the fan-pay-first approach to cover his recording costs at a west London studio, Cole plays it relatively safe here, relying on a template of instruments (banjo, mandolin, pedal steel … ) usually found in a Nashville country session.

Yet a mix of Cole’s typically upbeat pop attitude and rainy-day England melancholy, allied with an honest, slightly nasally baritone and strong lyrics, provide enough twists to ensure repeated visits.

Single download: Writer’s Retreat
For those who like: Paul Westerberg, Ron Sexsmith

Link to original article online

Publication: Otago Daily Times

Publication date: 27/11/10