For those who remember Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in the 80s, the 2010 model is a rather different beast. His posture and attitude from his heyday has been replaced with a relaxed gentle self-deprecation. And he's discovered folky country rock.
It suits him reasonably well, opening track Like A Broken Record is a gentle charmer, all steel guitar and self-deprecation ("I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, not that I had that much dignity left anyway"). The uptempo tracks aren't bad either. Writers Retreat bops along nicely on a bed of harmonicas, slightly reminiscent of Whiskeytown, then the pace is taken down a notch or two on The Flipside, which sounds like any of the slower tracks form Lloyd's 90s solo albums.
Why In The World could be something off Springsteen's Tunnel of Love with its regretful tone ("maybe I'm not built for these times") over a soaring keyboard-led melody. Westchester County Jail repeats the trick of Writers Retreat with added steel guitar. A bit of pace in the songs suits him quite well, That's Alright has a nice REM-style midtempo groove to it while Oh Genevieve (classic Lloyd Cole title) is another song to add to his long list of odes to various girls. Later, Rhinestones is a sprightly, banjo-led stomp, before closing track Double Happiness keeps up the pace, stretching out a little musically on the guitar before the end. All in all, Lloyd's "edge" is definitalmost completely absent here, but it's a pleasant enough collection of tunes, very enjoyable for fans of Lloyd Cole.