Review: Two sets of Lloyd Cole might seem like a lot, but the man’s long stopped playing to an audience that weren’t entirely on board (and who, to describe the demographic in the most generous terms possible, had clearly been on board for the best part of 30 years). Flanked by black-clad guitarists Mark Schwaber and Matt Cullen, who also occasionally swapped to banjo and mandolin, the Small Ensemble showed their value from the outset with a beautifully embellished No Blue Skies’ that began a night of gentle, if spirited, music interspersed with a hell of a lot of tuning breaks and wry quips, primarily themed around purchasing Cole’s new albums at the merch desk (which was a good idea – Broken Record’ is as good an album as he’s made).
That being said, he’s still genuinely got it. Sure, it would take him actually opening fire on an audience to unseat my love for him, but I was accompanied by someone who’d never knowingly heard a Cole song and who thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Part of it is Cole’s voice, which just gets richer and more mellifluous with every passing year, and part of it is just that he writes amazing songs. Yes, the tracks from his 1984 debut Rattlesnakes drew the biggest response (and it was well represented with the title track, Perfect Skin’, Forest Fire’, 2CV’ and Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?’) the new material was received enthusiastically, and much of the songs boasted wonderful new arrangements which showed off just how much the Ensemble added to the sound – particular highlights included the almost chorus-free Like Lovers Do’ and Schwaber hammering his mandolin for the lively keyboard hook of Lost Weekend’. He may be singing to the choir these days, but the choir certainly appreciate it.
Andrew P Street
No Blue Skies
That’s Why I Love Country Music
Like a Broken Record
Don’t Look Back
My Other Life
So You’d Like to Save the World
Why in the World?
Like Lovers Do
Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?
If I Were A Song
The Lady Came From Baltimore /Reason to Believe
Woman in a bar
Old Enough to Know Better/No More Love Songs
Late Night Early Town
Original article link is now dead
Publication: Time Out Magazine
Publication date: 14/02/11