“THERE’S A RIOT going on,” croons Lloyd Cole to the accompaniment of swooning strings on “I Didn’t Know That You Cared.” It’s just one of the songs on the New York-based Scotish singer- songwriter’s new album, “Love Story,” that borrows a lyric from someone else’s song title. (“Be There,” for example, takes similar liberties with Neil Young’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.”) Though eminently tuneful, the result seems more recycled than riotous.

“Story” features guitarist Robert Quine and drummer Fred Maher, veterans of the hard-edged album Cole made upon arriving in New York, but it returns to the gentler sound of the singer’s early work with his Glasgow band, the Commotions. That’s not unwelcome, and the disc is certainly more agreeable than its predecessor, “Bad Vibes,” an inconsistent foray into neopsychedelia. Such tracks as “Unhappy Song,” “Like Lovers Do” and “Let’s Get Lost” are exceptionally close relations of the tunes on “Rattlesnakes,” Cole’s debut with the Commotions, but in their over-familiar way they’re quite pleasant.

Publication: The Washington Post

Publication date: 24/11/95