I’ve quickly translated a concert review that was published today in one of the local papers, MALAGA HOY, for your records/weblog. Please excuse the rough translation.



A man alone in a foreign country, with his guitar and songs as sole companion. That was Lloyd Cole last night, at the Teatro Cervantes. His songs speak of loneliness and uncorresponded love, and rarely of hope or victory. With such weapons it is difficult to succeed, but for those who wanted – or could – listen there was no doubt: Lloyd Cole is a master, albeit a lonesome one. His merits and talent were not exhausted after Rattlesnakes (1984), his lauded debut with The Commotions.

Cole sings and composes from a dignified mature perspective, and he himself joked about that. “I’ll stop halfway through the concert so that you can call your babysitters to let them know it’s going to take longer than expected”, said Cole. His audience, though, was not of his same age, which could explain the unfair coldness with which his repertoire was for the most part received.

But Cole is far from being a well of misery and desperation; it is only that his songs are not about cars and girls, but are instead impregnated with the melancholic and, perhaps, useless wisdom that is attained by the mere passage of time – the song “No More Love Songs” being a perfect example of it. This could also explain the tunes he dared cover, because “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “Chelsea Hotel #2”, both by Leonard Cohen, cannot be approached unconsciously, since otherwise failure is certain. Cole made them his, always with respect towards their author, whom he thanked.

Not only was it a night of emotional tension, but there was humour at the Cervantes as well. Cole, for instance, joked about his lonesome condition on stage, and recalled with wit and fine irony the unfortunate children choir recorded at the end of one of his classic themes – “it was certainly not one of my smartest career moves” – only to end it with a hilarious Tom Waits imitation.

The British singer still has a privileged throat that perfectly suits his English midtempo pop tunes of melodic and sometimes ragged voice. His are classic compositions, with the exact drops of folk, but invariably with an overwhelming chorus. Surely the concert would have been a lot lighter and uptempo should Cole have been accompanied by, say, drums, bass and an electric guitar; however, listening to his bare songs was enough for them to reveal their elegant seams.

His repertoire has no weak link: from the opening “Music In A Foreign Language” to the advances of his latest record, all of them were brilliant heir to the intimate and simple pop hidden in The Beatles or The Kinks, to name but two examples. Cole is one of the subtle snipers that have developed this sound since the late ‘70s (the latest and most cynical of the pack would be Luke Haines).

Far from fashion and trends – all of them end up anyway – songs are what really last. Lloyd Cole has a bunch of them to offer, bittersweet vignettes and sad stories whistled with half a smile. Cole doesn’t sell imaginary worlds of happy colour, nor does he point at the future of music. He rather seems content to honestly narrate what he feels life is, that which he has felt and learned: his truth. Last night he did exactly that, alone with his guitar, and maybe only a few understood him. The luckier they are for that.

J. L. Garcia Gomez – MALAGA HOY, 25/01/2006.

Translated by Americo Jimenez.

Publication: Malaga Hoy

Publication date: 25/01/06