No Depression - 7-8/01, p.126
"...Cole's strongest work in a decade..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 6/01, p.120
"...Polite, pristine guitars, languid, conspiratorial voice and soft-soap bass...revealing flashes of the old magic..."
Personnel includes: Lloyd Cole (vocals, guitar, synthesizer); Jill Sobule (vocals, guitar); Mike Kotch (guitar); David Derby (bass, background vocals); Rafa Maciejak (drums).
Producers include: Stephen Street, Lloyd Cole, William Wittman, Clive Langer.
Engineers include: Cenzo Townshend, Bruce Calder, Steve Rosenthal.
While Lloyd Cole dabbled in orchestrated pop and electronics on his latter-day albums, this 2001 offering finds the literate tunesmith returning to the kind of rootsy, quirky, folk-tinged rock he made with the Commotions in the '80s. After a decade of solo offerings, Cole unveiled a new band (featuring singer/songwriter Jill Sobule as a member) and a new record, both sharing the name of THE NEGATIVES. Consequently, there is a focused, cohesive energy to the album that enhances the impact of Cole's deeply personal songs.
Cole's bag of songwriting tricks includes soul-searching ("Past Imperfect"), sketches of characters and scenarios ("Vin Ordinaire"), anthems to anxiety ("Too Much E"), and stabs at self-mockery ("Tried to Rock"). At his best, Cole balances sincerity with witty, ironic detachment, as on "What's Wrong with This Picture?" (which sports a breezy, late-New Wave feel) or the foibles-embracing "Negative Attitude." Cole's ear for melody is sharp as ever, and the bright, tight chemistry of the Negatives provides the perfect backdrop for his songcraft on this fine return-to-form outing.