Monday, April 4, 2011

Album Review: Lloyd Cole – Bad Vibes

This was where my once unswerving loyalty to Lloyd Cole began to waver. In a change of tack from his excellent solo work up till now, he enlisted producer Adam Peters, Bob Clearmountain on mixing duties and attempted to update his sound with modern-sounding guitars and “programming”. The result is a most un-Lloyd Cole sounding album. Opener Morning Is Broken is a fairly strong descending melody, but there are distracting beats through the song which don’t work too well. The spectre of late-period Beatles hangs over So You’d Like To Save The World, also the rock anthem My Way To You, and especially Fall Together. Elsewhere, it sounds like his well of inspiration is running dry on tracks like the Amazing Grace mimicking Holier Than Thou, while Wild Mushrooms is a machine-driven moody experiment best forgotten. Love You So What has the kitchen-sink thrown in, guitars, keyboards, a danceable beat and even a cello. It sounds how that reads, ie doesn’t quite work. Too Much of a Good Thing is a rare beast here, a swooping guitar part not ruined by the pervasive beats and cluttered production. The album is nothing if not diverse, Mister Wrong is one of the few songs not smothered by over-production to allow a gentle tune to creep through, while Seen The Future is nothing short of Lloyd doing T.Rex’s Children of the Revolution! It finishes with the glacial crawl that is Can’t Get Arrested which can’t decide what it wants to be, taking eight minutes to do so. Unfortunately this album never really rises above the over-cooked production and must go down as one of Lloyd Cole’s weakest albums.