During the '80s, Lloyd Cole was the thinking-teen's heartthrob, effectively waxing sensitive and poetic over jangly guitar-pop melodies.

During the '80s, Lloyd Cole was the thinking-teen's heartthrob, effectively waxing sensitive and poetic over jangly guitar-pop melodies. Although he has hardly been dormant since then—putting out some edgy early-'90s solo discs—Cole hasn't offered anything nearly as sweet or as accessible as his work with the Commotions until forming the Negatives. With this new band (which features Jill Sobule and former Dambuilders bassist Dave Derby), Cole is once again playing the brooding romeo, proving that he still has a flair for crafting clever (and often more than that) love songs. That said, little of The Negatives sounds like contemporary radio fodder. Rather, it's the kind of album that Cole die-hards will warmly embrace. With a little luck, that will spill over into the mainstream and develop some deservedly positive word-of-mouth. Distributed by At-Source/WAR.—LF