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"Review of 'Pain of Life' EP"

Lloyd - Pain Of Life EP

Released: 11th Feb 2009
Style: Classic Rock
Arctic Top Track: Red Blood Sky
Arctic Rating: 4 out 5 Stars

Review by: Rich Pickings - 25th January 2009

January is surely everyone's least favourite month of the year; there's snow on the ground, flu in our system and lint in our pockets. We're suffering from more than our fair share of sunlight deficiency syndrome and frankly it's enough to make anyone consider hibernation. Musically, the stereo had been playing a constant stream of golden oldies by the likes of Crosby Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield and The Cramps. It was as if we'd subconsciously rejected 2009. Florence and The Machine? Nah. Empire of The Sun? Never. Tame Impala? We thought you ate it with chips.

So then this new thing landed on our desk. Moody dark cover, lone figure in monchrome, sodium lit relief. Subject possesses Neil Young-esque sideburns and stands in solitary pose like Johnny C in profile at Folsom. It comes proudly bearing the title "Pain of Life". Now you're talking!

As usual, not everything was what it seemed. Instead of a catalogue of songs with the joi de vivre of Leonard Cohen duetting with Bon Iver, Pain of Life revolves around a mix of classic rock, blues and everyday pathos. There's not much information to be divined about Lloyd - cover star and he of the impressive diggers - apart from a sketchy bio which you can read yourselves on his MySpace page, but someone else's detail is unecessary. His clutch of influences are worn on a dextrous sleeve, with a voice capabable of evoking - but not aping - many of them in glorious amplification.

Hence Opener Red Blood Sky has all the smoky bar room oeuvre of Clapton, with condemnatory lyrics full of uncaring, solipistic targets and profligate, war like men in darkened rooms. It's a fine line between pastiche and veneration, but there is sense of affection rather than worship; Sundown bears all the scars of blue-collar, Springsteen-esque simplicity and the title track is flush with the mournful, wilting genius of Van Morrison.

Neither the suceeeding Border or Not Now are as classicist in approach, both are more about introspection and a quieter sense of dignity. In a time when the term singer-songwriter too often equates to soporific folkie, Lloyd's retro juke spirit may ultimately prove to be too muscular for the tender ears of the MTV Cribs generation, but Pain of Life undoubtedly kick started the final year of the decade for us.

- Artic Reviews


Still working on that hot first release.



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