Plastic Wood is a huge departure from the jangle rock albums that Lloyd Cole usually creates. Purely instrumental and recorded alone in New York and London in 1999 and 2000, the album is a startlingly beautiful collection of 18 ambient electronic songs. Cole's gentle, pastoral melodies are everywhere, but they're remarkably subtle and delicate here. Indeed, this is no noisy, experimental Aphex Twin wannabe at work. This is Cole operating in the hushed tones of Brian Eno's acclaimed ambient albums. One could easily confuse Plastic Wood with the work of ISAN or another of the acclaimed artists on the Morr Music label. When Cole features acoustic guitar on the tracks, the songs easily stand alongside those of Manual's Until Tomorrow. And while hints of the IDM of Aphex Twin and Mike Paradinas do appear, there's never a moment where one worries that Cole is about to riff away on some drum'n'bass tangent. "Headlights" is probably the high point, with its sweet whiffs of sorrow and superb use of high-pitched tones. Elsewhere, echoes of nursery box lullabies linger in the air, an atmosphere of melancholy hovers over extended passages, sad synthetic strings weep, sci-fi sound effects create spooky textures, and tender bells mingle with haunting, symphonic refrains. If there's a rare occasional lapse into a bit of sappy Tangerine Dream territory here and there, Cole more than makes up for it with the album's thoroughly modern sensibilities and smart, pretty arrangements. If the excellent Plastic Wood is any indication, alternative rock icon Lloyd Cole can add "master electronic musician" to his resum‚. ~ Tim DiGravina
94552MLloyd Cole - Plastic Wood (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/04/827954041626.jpg?v=313.9812.58USDOutOfStockOne Little Indian UsCDPop-RockLloyd-Cole2008-09-18
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