Lloyd Cole‘s 11th album since the demise of the Commotions, the charmingly/arrogantly-titled Standards opens with a rocked-up version of an old Mama Cass song, California Earthquake. Women’s Studies continues in this vein of vaguely Lou Reed by way of Sticky Fingers rock, in a way Cole hasn’t really managed since his 1990 solo debut.
Bright and breezy rock is the order of the day. Period Piece has an almost Dylan like vocal and a neat lyrical nod to Stealer’s Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You (“concrete to the left of me, flowers to my right”). It’s all very referential, without being pure theft, though Opposites Day robs blind from Television’s Marquee Moon and just about gets away with it.
The gorgeous Myrtle & Rose and later Silver Lake provide a change in gear, acting like If I Were A Song on 2010’s Broken Record. There are quality tunes aplenty here, from the country-tinged No Truck to the polished pop-rock of Blue Like Mars. It’s Late strikes a slightly cheesy note, like Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman filtered through Chris Isaak. The closer Diminished Ex is all Dylan-style “babe” references and a gorgeous outro of duelling guitars.
This sort of thing is not going to change anyone’s life but it shows there’s plenty of creative spark in Lloyd Cole. It’s a fine collection of songs, well up to the “standard” of the rest of his back catalogue.
Lloyd Cole plays Saturday 02 November 2013 in Vicar Street, Dublin. Ticket info.