nglish singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole is a cult artist in the United States, even though his 1984 debut, ”Rattlesnakes,” with his band the Commotions, showed breakout potential. Maybe he’s too smart, too cynical and too much the embittered romantic to cross over to a large audience. It has taken several months for this solo album to reach the United States, although it got raves overseas last summer.

The strikingly moody ”Music in a Foreign Language” is a subdued, uncluttered recording, with Cole’s ethereal vocals, guitar and keyboards carrying most of the album. The most notable special guest is original Commotions guitarist Neil Clark. Themes of regret and defeat flow through many songs, but Cole’s pithy, self-deprecating observations prevent the album from collapsing into self-pity.

Publication: San Jose Mercury News (California)

Publication date: 18/04/04