Lloyd Cole | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lloyd Cole 

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Two albums after the demise of the Commotions, the band he fronted for five years, Lloyd Cole is still doing his best to be both sexy and bookish. He succeeds a lot of the time: his solo records--both almost irreproachable collections of sultry but radio-friendly pop-rock--combine extremely sophisticated arrangments, tarted up guitar playing (courtesy of Cole cohorts Robert Quine and Robert Lloyd), and Cole's rumpled bedroom voice, sometimes raspy, sometimes fluty, dishing out his knowing lyrics ("You sit around sticking pins on dolls," "He thought that women and drink'd make a man out of him"). He loves American rock ("To the Lions") and American soul ("Weeping Wine"), and at his best ("She's a Girl and I'm a Man") he makes you want great things from him. He comes mighty close on the first half of Don't Get Weird on Me, Babe his latest, where the above songs come from; the second half--the part the album's title prepares us for--sees Cole emoting heavily over a series of lush orchestrations. It's not terrible or anything--just, well, weird. I wanna see Cole put out a great rock 'n' roll album. Then he can croon. Live, however, he's always dynamite. Opening is the duo of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, the brains and melodic talents behind the very brainy and unfailingly melodic Go-Betweens. Tonight, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449.

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