The greying Lloyd Cole walking to the microphone was in brown cords, brown shirt, brown shoes, with two brown acoustic guitars to pick and mineral water for lubrication. Thicker set too, closer to Morrissey than Jimmy Carr in the lookalike league, on account of his partiality for a fine English pint, he later revealed, rather than the whisky that used to further pump his adrenalin on stage.

The Buxton singer-songwriter is 51 now, likes to tour solo, which he does regularly, although his sold-out Pocklington debut was surprisingly his first North Yorkshire appearance since a similarly solo night at Fibbers in York in May 2000.

Since when he has written and released plenty more adroit thoughts on matters of the heart, of love leaving, lost or libido-led. Hence his assurance that this was not a comeback for the former Commotion; he had always continued to write, “just getting noticed sometimes more than others”, and while new songs were showing stubbornness to reach the finishing line, the unnamed one that was ready for Cole delivery had his usual skill of a memorable opening line and closing punchline.

Spread generously over two unhurried one-hour sets, he cherry-picked from 28 years of graceful melodies and crisp social and cultural observation of bedroom and bar-room wars, woes and worn wishes.

He was at ease with himself, laughing at fluffed lines and false starts, sending up his bygone ten-year obsession with “baby” in his lyrics, and generally being “self-depreciating” as he called it.

His stock is not depreciating: the songs age well, even improve, with the passing years and slower, unadorned delivery and his mature voice has a lovely warmth to it. Contrary to the old image, Mr Perfect Skin is now perfectly happy in his skin.

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Publication: The Press

Publication date: 09/03/12