Good news: Lloyd Cole is back to electric-guitar rock for the first time in a while. He’s also letting loose his inner Bob Dylan, admittedly influenced by Dylan’s 2012 album, “Tempest.” The result is an intelligent pop-rock album that ranks with some of Cole’s best work. A Briton who lives in Easthampton these days, Cole reunites here with Fred Maher (Lou Reed, Scritti Politti) and Matthew Sweet, and adds his son, Will, on guitar. Cole whips through Dylanesque tracks such as “Women’s Studies,” “Period Piece,” and “Diminished,” blurting out lyrics in syncopated ways with a pinched, nasal delivery. But this is more than a calculated homage: Cole writes standout lyrics that nail the vagaries of romance, trip through the ether, and poke fun at ’50s parents who complained of trends like the jitterbug and lindy hop. He gets downright sexy in “It’s Late,” about a hotel tryst; “Myrtle and Rose” has a smoldering, Leonard Cohen-like sensuality. Throughout, he continues to challenge us in ways that demand attention. (Out Tuesday)
Essential “Women’s Studies”
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