-
neumu
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 
-
-
--archival-captured-cinematronic-continuity error-daily report-datastream-depth of field--
-
--drama-44.1 khz-gramophone-inquisitive-needle drops-picture book-twinklepop--
-
Neumu = Art + Music + Words
Search Neumu:  

illustration
44.1kHz = music reviews

edited by michael goldbergcontact




Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive



peruse archival
snippet
    
artist
Lloyd Cole
recording
Music In A Foreign Language
Sanctuary
snippet
rating


"You're quite good, you know." My foggy memory insists that Lloyd Cole once mentioned speaking those exact words to Neil Clark, lead guitarist in his old band The Commotions. But it may possibly have been Morrissey speaking to Marr. Whichever the case, the quote applies just as well to Lloyd Cole, as evidenced by the quite good — nay, excellent — Music in a Foreign Language.

It's been a lengthy trek for Cole, but he seems to have found his niche now. Founded in Glasgow in the early 1980s as a sizeable soul band, The Commotions quickly stripped down to a jangly quintet and released three albums of catchy, literate romantic rock before packing it in toward the end of the decade. Along the way they scored minor hits with songs like "Perfect Skin," "Lost Weekend," and "Jennifer She Said."

His solo career found him coming to America, growing his hair out, ditching his razor and hooking up with a crew of New York musicians, including guitarist Robert Quine (Lou Reed, the Voidoids), drummer Fred Maher (the Voidoids), and some guy named Matthew Sweet on bass. Despite the new cast of collaborators, he continued to work in the same general vein as The Commotions, albeit with a darker, urban lyrical cast on his self-titled debut. Cole then went on to dabble in string-sweetened orchestral music (much of Don't Get Weird on Me, Babe) and psychedelic/glam rock (Bad Vibes) before returning to his signature style on Love Story and, most recently, The Negatives. Now, sans The Negatives (his backing band from the album of the same name), Cole is very much alone on his latest, the exquisitely understated Music in a Foreign Language.

This latest effort finds Cole working in stripped-down fashion, his vocals working with the sparse instrumental accompaniment to haunting effect. These songs are some of the most gut-wrenching material he has birthed, conveying a pronounced sense of resigned alienation far removed from the romanticism of his work with the Commotions. In opening with the title track he drives this home with cold precision, declaring "Whatever pale fire I had is gone/ But you don't want to hear that in a song" over a strummed nylon-string guitar, the chorus's delicate la-la-la-la-las doing nothing to lighten the mood. Cole's intent here? To deliver "Music in a foreign language/ Words that we don't understand/ Melodies won't come between us/ And even if you wanted/ We can't sing along."

At this album's core lies a trio of very dark songs that do indeed challenge one to sing along. Over a forlorn picked chord and programmed percussive pulse, the narrator of "My Other Life" describes a horrific scene: "Clearly you can see that I am bleeding/ Clearly you can see my clothes are torn/ Clearly this demands an explanation/ Only I can offer none." He builds the scene in coldly clinical terms: "Witnesses have placed me at the crime scene/ Forensic evidence concurs/ Samples taken from under my fingernails/ Support the prosecution's case." But as the lyrical tale grows uglier, the music takes on an achingly gorgeous cast, swirling synthesized strings and haunting piano crafting a chiaroscuro, starkly contrasting with the pathetic portrait painted by his words. It is at this point that I realized just how accomplished a craftsman Cole has become.

"Today I'm Not So Sure" presents a relationship in limbo, with a self-described "man in descent" questioning his ability to remain committed to his spouse. "Didn't I promise always to/ Shelter and protect you/ Didn't I answer 'Yes, I do'/ Well, today I'm not so sure," the song begins, and there is no happy resolution coming over the remaining verses. The album-closing "Shelf Life" digs into similarly melancholy territory, Cole again singing over a picked nylon-string guitar, a metronome calling out a steady beat behind him, bits of sprightly piano failing to lighten the mood. Darkness falls with the album's final words: "No longer waiting for my prayers to be answered/ No longer waiting for my publisher's call/ No longer charming in my reminiscence/ Only immersed in a famed afterglow/ Now the night's drawing in/ I'm your unworthy friend/ At the ungodly end/ Of a lifetime."

Elsewhere on the album, things are somewhat brighter, though the title track, "My Other Life," "Today I'm Not So Sure" and "Shelf Life" cast a massive shadow over the remaining material. "Late Night Early Town" brings the album's sole grin with this line: "Oh Los Angeles/ How do you sleep?/ You seem so full of cocaine/ And self-belief." A stripped-down cover of Nick Cave's "People Ain't No Good" replaces Cave's slurred sneer with Cole's quiet resignation.

Music in a Foreign Language is an absolute masterpiece that eclipses anything Lloyd Cole has done before. In stripping away the musical and lyrical excesses that occasionally detracted from his material in the past, he has left nothing but his raw, beating heart. Old beyond his years and talented beyond any measure, Cole has at last delivered an album to absolutely cherish.


by Steve Gozdecki




-
-snippetcontactsnippetcontributorssnippetvisionsnippethelpsnippetcopyrightsnippetlegalsnippetterms of usesnippetThis site is Copyright © 2003 Insider One LLC
-