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Lloyd Cole
One Little Indian Records

It has been me and Lloyd Cole against the world for almost two decades now. I remember the first time I heard Cole's music coming from my older brother's record player. I stood in the doorway to his bedroom, entranced, and could only muster enough power to ask simply, "Who is that?" Since those humble beginnings with the Commotions on Rattlesnakes, Lloyd Cole has become one of the mainstays of my music library. His tendency towards highly literate and emotionally charged downbeat rock has transfixed me for nigh on twenty years, and his newest offering, Antidepressant, certainly shows no signs of stopping that trend.

From the beginning moments of "The Young Idealists", with its rhythmic acoustic guitar strumming and shuffling drums, Antidepressant is as comfortable as lunch with an old friend. The sound is familiar, encapsulating the warm near-melancholy for which Lloyd Cole has come to be so well known. The songs on this record all have a bit of hope buried inside their cocoon of slow-down acoustic rock, something that long-time fans will find somewhat surprising. Cole has written tracks over the years with hope, but never an album full of songs that seem to be coming to terms with the author's position in life and a cheerful acceptance of those terms. Cole is eloquent with his lyrics, as always, subtly suggesting things where in the past he might have simply laid his ideas out more directly. "Woman In A Bar" hides references to Scarlet Johansen along with a whistling flute line that could well have been lifted from a late 60's hippy tune. "NYC Sunshine" is a softly lilting summertime tune that speaks volumes about how comfortable Cole has become with his adopted home… as well as relating the story of a pleasant love affair.

The album's title track is laced with gritty slide guitars and carries electric guitar lines that can be traced back to his mid 90's work. The lyrical content cleverly lays out a continuing story of the perhaps-misplaced love affair that is seen through the album: "I said 'I'm trying to write my novel' she said 'neither am I/ and either way I saw you reading No Depression/ you're doing nothing I'll come over we'll watch Six Feet Under/ and then we'll maybe get around to your condition'". "How Wrong Can You Be" is not only a lyrical masterpiece with it's double entendre and brilliant word usage, but the music attains an almost European slow pop vibe… clean acoustic guitars and sparkling piano carried along a bed of softly swinging drums. This is perhaps one of the most masterfully executed songs in Cole's history, complete with obscure references and an uplifting chorus.

Antidepressant is loaded with the kind of quality songs that Lloyd Cole has been turning out for the past five years or so (with the exception of the brief Negatives project being a little more rock oriented) - acoustically based songs that tend to tell stories of his life and the lives of those around him. The difference is now the darkness has been slightly pulled away, revealing a contented man living a life he has once more truly come to enjoy.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. The Young Idealists
2. Woman In A Bar
3. NYC Sunshine
4. Antidepressant
5. I Didn't See It Coming
6. How Wrong Can You Be?
7. Everysong
8. I Am Not Willing
9. Slip Away
10. Traveling Light
11. Rolodex Incident

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