LLOYD COLE ‘Guesswork’ – CD

$34.00 Inc GST

Available on backorder


Lloyd Cole first came to prominence in the mid-80s as frontman of the Commotions, their winning blend of jangling guitars and grownup literary allusions finding an audience eager for something with more depth than Howard Jones could offer. Since the Commotions disbanded in 1989, Cole’s solo career has been pleasingly varied, oscillating between adventures in ambient electronica and more standard singer-songwriter fare. Guesswork finds him combining the two strands, with conventional song structures fleshed out by synths.

There’s a literary elegance to Cole’s compositions rare in the pop field – the late great Warren Zevon was one of the few contemporary songwriters who shared that quality – and these arrangements mirror that nuanced formality. “The Over Under” opens the album with contemplative ambient music and lyrics about uncertainty, sung by Cole with a faintly Bowie-esque quaver. “Night Sweats” lifts the tempo with a bright Kraftwerk-style melody and jaunty electric guitar. “The Afterlife” trudges through the theme of ageing that preoccupies Cole throughout the album, but then he rallies with “Moments and Whatnot”, in which shimmering synth-pop provides a dynamic backdrop for pensive vocals. This is a poised and expansive record, showcasing a real mind at work.