steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion

Lloyd Cole

"Music in a Foreign Language" CD

One Little Indian

Genres: singer / songwriter, indie pop

One Little Indian
34 Trinity Crescent
London SW17 7AE, UK

Sep 26 - Oct 3 2004

Over two years ago, I reviewed an album by Chris Cacavas entitled Bumbling Home From the Star.  It was a solo effort from a rather prolific musician, and ended up as Indieville's best album of 2002 - rightfully so, as even to this date it remains one of the best pop albums in my collection.

I bring this up because Lloyd Cole (ex-Commotions) has a similar low-key pop sensibility to his work.  Music in a Foreign Language has much in common with Bumbling Home, although it is far from the same album.  Cole wisely keeps his songs simple and accessible, crafting well-written melodies with little more than guitar, piano, voice, and occasional percussion.  This makes songs like "Today I'm Not So Sure" and "Shelf Life" positively irresistible - once you've let them play, you're hooked; the music's relaxed, unobtrusive nature allows it to work well in the foreground or the background, making for a truly versatile record.

"Brazil" is the pivotal three minute pop song - its dreamy structure is dangerously catchy, bringing everything together with a lovely ba-ba-ba chorus.  Cole works cutely with mock na´vetÚ in his lyrics, and the lush atmosphere makes for one of Music in a Foreign Language's best moments.  The album-opening title-track is also a significant piece of music - its dreamy duration is completely devoid of tension or stress, resulting in a charmingly relaxed pop number.

Altogether, Music in a Foreign Language is a particularly lovely album that can be listened to in almost every situation.  Whether it's a backdrop to late-night work, or the music to which you relax after a long day, this album fits the bill.

87%

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]