The hyperliterate Lloyd Cole has fashioned a career out of clever turns of phrase and detailed character studies rooted in equal parts wit and sorrow. The 45-year-old and his band, the Commotions, first burst onto the scene with 1984's Rattlesnakes, a near-perfect debut that featured grayscale jangle and the gorgeous semi-hit "Perfect Skin."
In the ensuing two decades, Cole has moved beyond pure rainy-day mope -- solo discs have dabbled in 1960s psychedelia, cinematic string arrangements, and brassy folk-pop -- without losing his strongest asset: a velvety croon that's a hybrid of Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. This is never more apparent than on his fine new album, Antidepressant, and especially on its Crowded House-style opener, "The Young Idealists," a tale of onetime radicals facing harsh reality: "Then we bought into the neocon economic dream/And we were trading in futures we believed in."
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