(HUDSON, N.Y.) – English rock singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole, known for his astutely literate and literary lyrics and post-New Wave compositions in his solo work, with his 1980s group The Commotions, and with his early 2000s group, the Negatives (featuring Jill Sobule), performs at Club Helsinki Hudson on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at 8 p.m. Cole will be performing for the first time with his new guitarist, his son, Will, before the two head off on a European tour.
Cole has been quietly releasing solo albums comprised of sophisticated lyrics and arrangements since the Commotions’ demise in 1987. Cole’s songwriting runs the gamut of pop tunes, folk-rock, Northern soul, and other sounds from the post-punk spectrum. His songs are as likely to reference Raymond Carver, Norman Mailer, Grace Kelly, Simone de Beauvoir as they are Scarlett Johansson.
The Commotions, which Cole formed in 1982 while a student at the University of Glasgow, began as, essentially, a Northern soul act, complete with horns and a sharp pop sense. The horns were subsequently stripped away, but the mentality remained the same, and the group had a string of hits, including “Perfect Skin”, “Lost Weekend” and “Brand New Friend,” before disbanding in 1987.
Following the demise of The Commotions, Cole relocated to New York City and assembled a band to inaugurate his solo career. Cole got ex-Richard Hell and the Voidoids guitarist Robert Quine and an up-and-coming popster named Matthew Sweet to play bass, and cut his first, eponymous, critically acclaimed solo effort. Cole’s subsequent solo albums have delved into orchestral pop, psychedelic music, and electronica-inspired production, always hewing close to Cole’s uniquely referential lyric-writing. He’s never far off from mass popularity, but label troubles and shoddy distribution have kept Cole’s work in the smaller world of gifted musicians doing their own thing.
These days, Cole calls Easthampton, Mass., in the Pioneer Valley, home.