Lloyd Cole Returns With Small Ensemble

December 12, 2010 by Andrew Watt

Here’s a Christmas gift idea for the fan of intelligent, literate and articulate music in your family. No its not a dinner with Oprah Winfrey, it’s a ticket to see Lloyd Cole perform with his newish band, the Small Ensemble.

A regular visitor to our shores, Lloyd Cole returns this February off the back of his new studio album Broken Record, which was made via subscription by his loyal fan base, and was reviewed elsewhere on this site. An extract from that review suggests that I was impressed by the album.

“No, the fact is that Cole’s relevance continues to be enhanced by this charming, small scale album and in fact his legacy is enhanced by this excellent collection of new material.

On a superficial level some will suggest that he’s gone a little bit country on this record but to me that’s a lazy response based on the frequent (and very tasteful) use of the pedal steel on a number of tracks along with occasional appearances from a banjo and mandolin. To me these are not genre defining contributions but rather a response to songs that called for the melancholy tones that these instruments provide.

The way I look at it there’s probably half a dozen tracks that could make it onto a (reasonably generous) “best of” album and that’s an impressive strike rate.”

The Small Ensemble is in fact a full band that includes appearances by Fred Maher (ex Television,drums) Blair Cowan (ex-Commotions, keyboards), Mark Schwaber (acoustic guitar, mandolin) and Matt Cullen (acoustic guitar, banjo). Fred Maher, in particular is an exciting addition – its worth doing a quick google search to see what else he has done both as a producer and a musician. You’ll be surprised at some of the interesting work that comes up.

Additionally Cole has released the mail order and show only release Small Ensemble. Featuring Cole, Shcwaber and Cullen, Small Ensemble is an acoustic romp through Lloyd’s back catalogue and features re-workings of the Cole classics: Perfect Skin, No More Love Songs, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? and Undressed, amongst others. It’s these tracks and more that you can expect to hear from the Small Ensemble when they visit Australia in February for appearances at the Perth International Arts Festival as well as Sydney’s Enmore Theatre.

With his most recent Australian solo tour having been a complete sell out this first band outing of Cole’s for over twenty years is sure to follow suit.

Tickets for all shows on sale Monday December 20th.


Thursday 10th:Brisbane, Old Museum

Friday 11th:Sydney, Enmore Theatre

Saturday 12th: Melbourne, Thornbury Theatre

Sunday 13th:Melbourne, Thornbury Theatre

Wednesday 16th: Adelaide, The Gov

Thursday 17th:Perth International Arts Festival, Becks Music Box *

* on sale December 14th.

Link to original article online

Publication: Hey Hey My My

Publication date: 12/12/2010