The criteria for track of the year was relatively simple; which record has not left the player, Ipod,Laptop for a good few months and is still going strong into the new year, which track has got so far under the skin that now everybody in the house/work place is singing along whether they like it or not and which track still sounds fresh after umpteen repeat listens.
Hands down then That’s alright is moodswing’s track of the year.
Fantastic lyrics echoing the first two solo albums with their sharp wit fused with some fairly down and dirty guitar playing, this was the sound of the Lloyd Cole for me the first time round having been a little bit too young for the commotions (I only came in at Mainstream on my 15 birthday, but it still remains in my top five long players of all time). I stood waiting in my local record shop for them to unpack the newly delivered Lloyd cole (X) L.P.The staff there took advantage of my youth and naivety and conned me into buying them all Pukka Pies and chips from the chippie two doors down before they would unpack the day’s deliveries. To add insult to injury I got pulled for skipping school to pick this record up an wasn’t allowed it back for a week!
The L.P from which That’s alright is taken is Broken record ( see our albums of the year)
which hears Lloyd cole recording with a band again for the first time in about twelve years. The project was funded by avid Cole fans being encouraged to lay out $45 to pre-order the album, including his ‘young idealist’ fan collective, who also help sell and promote his work at his gigs. Musicians include Fred Maher who has played with Cole on his first few solo outings and also has the added Kudos of being Lou Reed’s Drummer, Joan as Policewoman – Joan Wasser on various instruments and vocals and contributions, including a co -write on Oh Genevieve, by ex- Commotions member Blair Cowan. Bob Hoffnar a pedal steel guitar player who worked with cole on Bad Vibes in 1993 also features, adding a country tinge to the proceedings. The album was recorded within a few days early in the year at the Magic shop in Manhattan N.Y
with all overdubs taking place in Cole’s current home state Massachusetts. The self depreciating title track lured me into a false sense of security in a kind of ‘business as usual’ Lloyd Cole outing until Writers Retreat! kicks in with a Harmonica, Pedal Steel and banjo and a chorus hook that evokes Gram Parsons’ era Byrds. Flipside has possibly one of the most emotive vocal performances that Cole has committed to tape, it is perhaps not often enough we get to hear Cole without his wry and satirical armour in place, “We’ll play Sister Morphine and dance to the end of the evening” ticked all the boxes for my money. Westchester County Jail begins “I look like a million bucks, sure I’m not worth quite that much” delivers us back into Cole’s comfort zone setting himself and his characters up for the fall over an up beat bar room stomp. Cole has said that like Bryan Ferry he only has two songs- Fast or Slow, but he likes to push and pull them into as many different shapes as possible and like one of his idols- Raymond Carver- its generally in the stories he tells that cole achieves this. The Genius of That’s Alright can be seen in the twist of its simple “Hey Mama, That’s Alright” , at one point in his career Cole was dubbed ‘Elvis for intellectuals “That’s Alright,Mama” the song provides a fitting retort. The amusing “There’s no depression in France, Their too busy with the romance.” smashes through the cultural zeitgeist in exactly the way So you’d like to save the world? did back in ’93 “You can call it ultra violet radiation, but it’s only sunlight” swimming upstream and laughing all the way. Oh Genevieve finds Cole teaming up with old Commotions band mate Blair Cowan who also adds accordion to this track echoing the sound of Easy Pieces album and provides the same catchy hooks that album had in abundance. Rhinestones was a close contender for our track of the year delivering some beautiful guitar playing and pay off lyrics “I say X and you say Y when you know I’m not a mathematical guy” “I wasn’t looking for trouble, its just a lazy eye” bringing to mind the tempo and wry humour of Undressed.Double Happiness closes the record with a variety of different guitar parts that sees Cole flex his musical muscles that I for one hope to hear more of in the future, ‘Tried to rock’ please-no more apologies.

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Publication: moodswingmusic

Publication date: 09/01/11