LLOYD COLE’s new album, Standards, has been hailed as a return to form. To be honest, when you google the topic, only three or four reviews show up and not much else. That has basically been the problem for COLE for most of his career as a solo artist. He has always been liked by critics but as time has gone by less people are aware of the consistent quality of his output. Way back in the 80’s, LLOYD COLE AND THE COMMOTIONS, were actually quite popular and had a good presence on college radio.
I do not agree that Standards is a return to form because I frankly think COLE has rarely slipped from being very good throughout his whole career. I found Antidepressant (2006) excellent and Broken Record (2010) slightly less so. It is true that his albums do feel more homespun or more intimate as the years go on. In fact, his last two have been partially funded by fans through his website, allowing the inclusion of a proper band. (I just received my signed copy!)
So I do not want to review the new album so much as encourage you, dear reader, to check out LLOYD if you are not familiar with him. And Standards is a great place to start. The combination of wry literate lyrics and his brand of catchy pop songs are not diminished by a (weary?) 52 year old’s perspective. His lyrics are still clever and his melodies still stick in your head all day. He’s brought along his old pals (MATTHEW SWEET, FRED MAHER) that played on those great early 90’s albums Lloyd Cole (1990) and Don’t Get Weird On Me Baby (1991), and Standards certainly sounds more like those records. For me, those albums were from a place and time I have fond memories of. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and get all optimistic (a very un-Lloyd like thing to do) but I could see this album accompanying some good memories just as well.
LLOYD COLE “Period Piece”