On Antidepressant, English cult singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole’s fourth album for indie label One Little Indian, the suave, smooth tunesmith shucks off his velvet smoking jacket, pops a pill or two, and lets down his pompadour. Though there’s nothing here that strikes a listener quite as immediately and succinctly as Cole’s 1995 bubble-under pop hit Like Lovers Do, a few spins reveal another gem in the crown of this smart, funny, self-deprecating troubadour.
Album opener The Young Idealists sets the pace for this record, yawning keyboard riffs and easy acoustic strumming chiming in comfortably alongside needling lines like “… make believe the world was really ours / Still supposing we could make a difference…” Woman In A Bar is a Billy-Joel-meets-Ben-Folds in an Uptown dive kinda ditty, Cole expertly capturing both the undeniable thrill of the mating ritual and the inevitable let-downs inherent in its logical conclusion: “… a few moving parts need to be replaced / My engine starts, but only on Tuesdays”
NYC Sunshine is a pretty, languid slice of afternoon delight nestled amongst these otherwise mostly dim, smoky vignettes, the aural equivalent of finding a bright spot of solar energy splattered all over a shadowy hardwood floor, while I Didn’t See It Coming tumbles in like a lazy lover late to bed, a syrupy, narcotic half-dream that simultaneously recalls the finer solo work of Lou Reed “… you stopped singing along with that rock ‘n roll song on your New York station / I didn’t see it coming “. and the airy, breathable later efforts of his erstwhile bandmate John Cale.
Other standouts here include the bouncy, countrified lope of Everysong, which does a fine job showcasing Cole’s wonderful knack for tossing off easy double-entendres and snappy pop hooks, as evidenced in this line from a character who knows he’s in the song:”So don’t get so excited / He’s not that kind of writer / Chances are we’ll wind up in some Godforsaken cul-de-sac / Not mine / No use to get sad about it, you can’t love everysong ..”. and a drop-dead gorgeous cover of Moby Grape’s I Am Not Willing.
The tone and final message of Antidepressant is best presented in the title cut and album centerpiece, as Lloyd shrugs and lays bare his chemical-laden, scarred ol’ heart with a sloppy, sideways grin: “With my medication I will be fine … I said I’m tryin’ to write my novel / She said, neither am I / By the way, I saw you reading No Depression / You’re doing nothin’, I’ll come over we’ll watch Six Feet Under / And then we’ll maybe get around to your condition …” A smartly understated, delightfully teasing nugget that really does get better with every spin. Highly (sorry) recommended. Check it out at onelittleindian-us.com and note that the record will be out October 10, so mark your calendars.
Post by Brian