CD Review of Antidepressant by Lloyd Cole

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starstarstarstarno star Label: One Little Indian
Released: 2006
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Antidepressant is Lloyd Cole’s tenth proper studio album – not counting the odd live, instrumental, or B-sides collection – and it will doubtless, like all its predecessors, fail to reach American charts. It’s common to make disparaging remarks about the intelligence of record buyers in cases such as these, and such complaints almost always miss the point.

Really, though, Cole’s continued lack of commercial success on these shores says something troubling about the state of our great nation.

This album fits neatly alongside most late-period Cole, which is to say it’s loaded with spare, deceptively simple arrangements, among which are liberally scattered barbed melodic hooks and clever turns of phrase. Though his records seem to sound more relaxed with each successive release, Cole’s acerbic wit remains intact. It continues to skate close to misanthropy, in fact, but he knows how to part the curtains just enough to keep the proceedings from wandering into excessively dour territory. The effect is, ultimately, thoroughly pleasant; it’s as if, since there seems to be hope for an old bastard as sarcastic and artfully rumpled as this one, there’s hope for us all.

He’s always demonstrated an uncommon songwriting gift, but of late, what has truly set Lloyd Cole apart is the frank humor with which he’s addressed the topics central to a man his age; namely, getting older, deepening commitments, and the erosion of youthful conviction. They aren’t sexy topics, to be sure, which is probably why they’re so often ignored or mishandled. Cole makes it look easy, and if you’re into pop music with any kind of a brain, it isn’t a stretch to say you owe it to yourself to order a copy.

~Jeff Giles