Lloyd Cole & The Commotions broke up in 1989 after releasing three LPs and something in the region of a dozen singles, many of which were chart hits. Since then, Lloyd has pursued a solo career which has had more critical than commercial acclaim which is a real shame as much of the output he has released over the past 25 years is every bit as good as his better known stuff with his band mates.
But back in 2000, Lloyd teamed up with some younger musicians from New York to form The Negatives. The other musicians in The Negatives were Dave Derby (lead singer and bassist of 90′s Boston-based Dambuilders, a band once decreed by Spin Magazine to be the best “indie band in America.”), Mike Kotch (guitarist with 90s New York band Eve’s Plum), Rafa Maciejak (drummer with 90s New York band Ivy, who in their time toured with Oasis, Edwyn Collins and The Divine Comedy among others) and Jill Sobule (highly regarded and talented singer-songwriter from Denver who I once saw support Billy Bragg at a gig in Edinburgh).
Other contributors on some of the songs included ex-Commotion Neil Clark and Adam Schlesinger of the Fountains Of Wayne, while production duties were largely (but not exclusively) handled by Stephen Street.
Anyways…..it’s clear that was no bunch of rookie or session musicians, and I reckon the results produced, at the time, Lloyd’s most consistent record in terms of quality since Rattlesnakes back in 1984. Its a great collection of songs and the talents of the other musicians more than complement Lloyd’s vocal delivery. I was just sorry that the project proved to be a one-off and also by the fact that it was a very low-key tour that supported the release of the LP (although in saying that, I was lucky enough to be in Dublin one night when The Negatives were in town and managed to blag a ticket).
What I most like about the record is the mixture of styles deployed throughout. There’s some acoustic type stuff that Lloyd would further develop on his solo albums throughout the subsequent decade, there’s some radio-friendly pop classics that should have been chart hits and there’s even some songs where the band go for a full-out rock assault.
And of course Lloyd’s great lyrics……
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Negatives – Past Imperfect
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Negatives – What’s Wrong With This Picture?
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Negatives – Too Much E
PS : I drafted this post weeks ago. In the interim period I’ve actually had the incredibly good fortune to bump into Lloyd Cole and be introduced to him. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I’ve been a huge fan for years….I still do get star-struck.