Lloyd Cole’s second solo album, released in 1991, represented a departure for him. Or at least half a departure. For the album is one of two halves. The first six songs were recorded with an orchestra, and were quite unlike any of Lloyd’s previous work. As an experiment it could have been doomed to failure. However it works beautifully, taking his songs to unimagined new heights.
Butterfly is a strong opener, ushering in the sweeping strings on a brooding, descending melody but next track There For Her has a wonderfully soothing atmosphere, redolent of Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talking, conjuring up sunny day driving. Margo’s Waltz is a darker, meditative waltz, though it’s lightened by cooing backing vocals, before Half of Everything picks up the pace a little. This one is a little over-cooked, with piano, strings and an over the top guitar solo.
Even going bossa-nova in Man Enough doesn’t spoil the atmosphere, before the tranquil What He Doesn’t Know ends a terrificly atmospheric run of songs. It’s almost a shame when the more straightforward ‘rock’-orientated second half kicks off. There are some strong songs here nonetheless, the jangly Tell Your Sister has pleasing shades of Lou Reed about it, along with Robert Quine’s guitar as Lloyd croons about “Ruemorgue avenue”.
Weeping Wine is very Byrds (minus the harmonies) while later The One You Never Had is worth sticking around for with a lovely guitar lick. The album concludes with fine driving rock song She’s A Girl and I’m A Man, complete with disparaging chorus “she’s gotta be the stupidest girl I’ve ever seen”. Though it’s a less cohesive listen than its self-titled predecessor, it’s a hugely enjoyable listen, and worth it for the first six tracks alone.