November 2, 2018 Richard Lloyd – The Countdown (Album Review)
To the casual Rock music fan, Richard Lloyd might be just another name; but to the initiated, this American guitarist, singer, and songwriter is legendary and iconic. Born on October 25, 1951, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Lloyd was well known as a founding member and quirky guitarist of the band Television (“Marquee Moon”). When Television disbanded in 1978, Lloyd embarked on a solo career, releasing the album Alchemy, his first offering. It took seven years before Lloyd was able to follow this up, with 1986’s Field of Fire. After a long hiatus, Lloyd came back in 2001 with The Cover Doesn’t Matter; two more came out during the decade, 2007’s The Radiant Monkey and 2009’s The Jamie Neverts Story. Another seven years went by and then Lloyd unleashed Rosedale. Obviously making up for the lost periods, Lloyd is back again with a new album.
Released on November 2, 2018, on Plowboy Records, Lloyd’s latest, seventh oeuvre bears his distinct angular style of guitar playing which helped characterized the music of his erstwhile band Television. Titled The Countdown, it opens with the nostalgic guitar spikes of “Wind in the Rain,” whose cool swagger will take the listener to Lloyd’s CBGB roots in the late ’70s. Slowing down the mood for a bit, yet still bearing his trademark wiry guitar plucks, Lloyd then launches into the relaxing “Smoke.” The ensuing bluesy, Pub Rock midtempo “So Sad” is a further trek down wistful lane.
“Run” is a change of pace—shifting the gear higher and the beat subtly faster; the rolling drumbeats and the bouncing basslines fit well into the masterfully woven guitar tracks. May be regarded as an album highlight, “Whisper” is a sure stomper that is powered by a memorable guitar line and a catchy chorus, reminiscent of some of the classic pioneers of Punk Rock such as Richard Hell & the Voidoids (“Bank Generation”), Generation X (“Kleenex”), Splodgenessabounds (“Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please”), and Sham 69 (“Hersham Boys”).
With the graceful “I Can Tell,” Lloyd loosens up the atmosphere for a bit, combining ’60s Garage Rock, ’70s Post-Punk, and ’80s Power Pop—sweet! And then Lloyd turns romantic as he dishes out the ballads “Just My Heart” and “Something Remains,” which hark to Lloyd’s Pub Rock days in the early ’70s. Still a Punk rebel by heart, Lloyd wraps up his latest work with “Down the Rain” and, finally, the psychedelic/proggy “Countdown,” where Lloyd’s penchant for Blues Rock shines through.
Lloyd definitely belongs to the pantheon of musically rebellious, Punk/New Wave-inspired guitar players whom include Paul Westerberg of The Replacements (“Bastards of Young”), Jonathan Richman of The Modern Lovers (“Roadrunner), Elliot Easton of The Cars (“Just What I Needed”), and even the Blues Rock muso Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones (“She’s So Cold”)—whose respective works still resonate to this day in the Alternative Rock world. Sounding fresh and familiar at the same time, The Countdown is another shiny safety pin on Lloyd’s leather jacket. CrypticRock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.