Lloyd who?, you ask. Few Brit indie singer-songwriters can lay claim to giving Morrissey a run for his money in the 1980s, but Lloyd Cole gave a good account of himself and stood out with his wry, literate lyrical sensibility and slippery verses that have gained renewed acclaim through the years.

As part of Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, he is best remembered for the Glasgow-based band’s Rattlesnakes debut (1984).

The likes of Alex Kapranos, Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian) and Matthew Sweet are some of his well-known obsessive fans, and much interest surrounding Cole’s music carries through with the new indie generation.

Today, Cole lives out a modest career and is a cult figure in the indie singer-songwriter circles – an elder statesman, of sorts.

At 45, this one-time New York resident, who now lives New England, has moved ahead with a solo music life spanning nearly 18 years.

This new album, Antidepressant, sees him in fine fettle while joining Morrissey on the Sanctuary artiste roster.

Not to say that Cole is on the Mozza revival tip but enthusiasm for him surged last year after Scottish outfit Camera Obscura scored a hit in Britain with its tune Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken, a smart-alecky reply to the Commotions’ classic, Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?

Although he is unlikely to regain his past commercial peak, the return of this indie tunesmith is good news.

Mostly recorded in his small studio, Antidepressant is the man’s first full-length CD in three years, and despite its folk-based reflections, the album punches far above its weight with soul and emotion.

Melancholy seems to flourish in Cole’s work, but the starkness of his Leonard Cohen-inspired previous album, Music in a Foreign Language, has been replaced with more alluring, optimistic songwriting in Antidepressant.

Cole’s new songs, as far as the writing goes, are loaded with tales of misplaced love affairs, promiscuous housewives, smart pop introspection and some warped edges surrounding mortality. Suitably mature material, to say the least.

The buoyant Antidepressant sees Cole in lovingly idiosyncratic form.

There’s a grain to his voice that frames the experiences he sings about and the gorgeous I Didn’t See it Coming, is as close as he gets to stealing your heart with his Nashville-meets-Velvet Underground fixation.

However, it’s the record’s sweeter and more subdued turns that leave a deeper impression.

The shimmering soul of NYC Sunshine and the country road trip of Travelling Light, especially, are understated confections that reflect Cole’s sublime songcraft.

Tuneful, lyrically heartfelt tunes never went out of fashion. Just look at Lloyd Cole, he has bags of them.

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Publication: The Star Online eCentral

Publication date: 05/02/07