Having spent most of the last decade making records in relative isolation, Cole experienced an itch to return to the band set-up that heralded his arrival with The Commotions in the early 80s. Thus, Broken Record is a busier and more beefed-up collection than 2006’s Antidepressant, yet sacrifices none of the introspective intimacy at which the singer excels.

Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser, drum legend Fred Maher and erstwhile Commotions keyboard player Blair Cowan all make their presence felt, adding slick countrified momentum to Westchester County Jail and Double Happiness, while That’s Alright finds Cole revisiting the Velvets-lite of Rattlesnakes and Easy Pieces.

He’s in familiar lyrical territory throughout, namechecking icons of yore (Garbo crops up in Man Overboard) and painting wistful portraits of enigmatic women (Oh Genevieve). It’s all delivered with the poetic grace and subtle humour we’ve come to expect, but with a refreshed focus that comes from having collaborators off whom to bounce ideas.

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Publication: Record Collector

Publication date: 01/10/10