Cool Lloyd Cole used to be synonymous with black turtleneck sweaters, perfect skin and Amsterdam weekends. Thanks to his songs we were ready to be heartbroken and knew to watch out for rattlesnakes.

After three albums Cole split from the Commotions and fans were left looking for a brand new band.

He went to New York to write and record a solo album with writing partner ex-Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan. The result is an impressive _ but not startling _ album which suggests there is better to come.

It shows Cole letting his hair down _ both figuratively and literally. He swings in and out of his signature style of catchy love ditties with cutting lyrics and a less controlled, almost rocky sound that has undoubtedly come from living in New York and working with American musicians.

The songs I Hate To See You Do That Stuff and Sweetheart are heavy with guitar and a basic back beat that is reminiscent of Lou Reed’s New York album. It came as no surprise to hear Cole made the album with drummer Fred Maher and guitarist Robert Quine who have both worked with Reed.

Fans looking for the old Cole will find a dash of it in Don’t Look Back and Loveless, while Undressed has this Englishman abroad being surprisingly playful.

There is enough of the Cole we love on this album to please fans _ but it is hard to say if there is enough magic to gather new listeners.

Publication: Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Publication date: 22/04/90