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12
The Cover Doesn't Matter
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2001
My previous exposure to Richard Lloyd was through Television and Matthew Sweet. I still think Matthew Sweet's 'Girlfriend' and '100% Fun' are two of the finest rock album's of the 90's, largely due to the guitar work of Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine. I have long considered Richard to be one of the most talented and underappreciated guitarists in rock.
I love Richard's inventive, unpredictable, chaotic yet melodic guitar stle, and found it in spades on this disc. But I was also surprised with the overall quality of the songwriting. The layered, interlocking guitar parts are pure genius, and most songs are miniature guitar masterpieces. Truly amazing guitar playing!
But one unfortunate factor prevents me from giving this a five-star rating - the vocals. I found the lyrics strained and awkward, and Richard's delivery strained and awkward as well. At first I was really put off by it, but I've found the vocals have become less intrusive with each listen. So it's not enough to sink the ship, but I really wish Richard had concentrated more on his strengths - guitar playing and songwriting - and brought in someone else to contribute the lyrics and vocals. Of course that would have undermined Richard's entire intention in making this album, and it would have been much less of a personal creative statement. But still I believe that with better lyrics/vocals, this disc could have become an absolute classic, and may have even attained some mainstream popularity.
Overall, I am really impressed with this disc! One of the best guitar-rock releases I've ever owned. Can't wait to see Richard live.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2001
I used to think that Verlaine was the interesting guitarist in Television and that Lloyd was the traditional one. But I was disappointed by the improvisational parts of Verlaine's Warm and Cool and I am impressed by Lloyd's increasing proficiency with absolutely no loss of passion and fire. Lloyd spends a lot of his time teaching guitar now and maybe that has made him more reflective about his playing. I just saw Lloyd and his band earlier this week (double bill with Steve Wynn and band!) and was amazed by his live playing. I have to concur with an earlier reviewer who finds Lloyd's vocals to be distracting. His singing has come a long way since Field Of Fire and it was even better live than it is on this album. His singing seems more uncertain than anything else. With repeated listens you do get used to his phrasing. His songwriting has come a long way too. His lyrics on Field of Fire were sometimes way too close to the June/moon/spoon variety. That is gone now (mercifully).
I am not impressed by mere technical mastery. I don't listen pop music to be wowed by the playing. That would throw the lesson of punk right out the window. Television flew in the face of punk back in the 70s by putting out long, elaborate guitar-based songs, but there was always a frantic, erratic quality about the playing that made it new and exciting. Lloyd has preserved that combination of complexity and craziness. See him live for the real deal. Stand-outs on this record include "Torn Shirt" and "Serpent", but there are no duds whatsoever.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2001
If you are already a fan of Richard's or just into quality, refreshing rock/pop songs then this is a must to have. Every song is perfectly crafted with hooks all over while also containing Richard's inventive, melodic guitar work which never ceases to amaze. This is timeless music that grabs you right away and cannot be pigeon-holed. If you have been fortunate enough to have heard or own Richard's previous studio albums ("Alchemy" and "Fields of Fire") this is a welcome addition. If you are a fan of Television's music be prepared for something different as "Raising the Serpent" is the only song Television-like at all. Meanwhile, revel in and celebrate the sonic delights of "Torn Shirt", "She Loves to Fly" and the pure beauty of "Cortege". Support quality, integrity, intelligence and rock 'n roll and pick this CD up today.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2001
Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd's guitar partner in Television, projects a studied strangeness with wonderful recorded results. Lloyd, on the other hand, seems almost more like Brian Wilson. He is so seemingly straightforward and guileless that he's weird in this cynical world. THE COVER DOESN'T MATTER is a wonderful album of quirky pop-rock songs splashed with great guitar playing. This album is perfectly imperfect. I've listeneed to it three times and it gets better with each listen. In a perfect world Lloyd's first album, ALCHEMY, would also be available. However, we're lucky to have THE COVER DOESN'T MATTER. Like GIRLFRIEND and MARQUEE MOON, this is an album for the ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2001
The songs here are some of his best ever, and the recording is far superior to the irritating 1980's sound of Real Time. There are a lot catchy, smart, original pop songs here. A lot of fun to listen to. Sounds like a great springtime album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2004
This record is a keeper and a piece of genius. At first I wasn't sure what I thought but now I can't turn the thing off. It is in my car all the time. Simply great and wonderful.
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on August 12, 2013
most of the criticism of any Richard Lloyd album are the vocals. get past it! the fact is his vocals are as good or maybe better than countless other artist of rock and roll. what matters is the guitar. Richard Lloyd is the best underrated and under appreciated guitarist in the rock world. not only did his guitar work with Tom Verlaine and Television make history, his work with Matthew Sweet, especially the Girlfriend album is brilliant. just like with Leo Kottke its not about the singer its the guitar. I don't review every album I purchase but after listening to this one I was compelled to! I own all the rest of the Lloyd catalog and got this one to complete the deal. I was blown away. some of his work is weaker than others but this is by far his best! if you like great rock guitar you will want this one. He also produced it his self and did a good job at that too. thanks Richard, rock and roll never forgets!!!
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on May 3, 2007
some staggeringly great stuff here. no doubt about it, this one grows and grows with repeated listens. singing is quite good actually, just a bit lonely in the mix, but after a while you get how & why he did that. this record has a very distinctive sound of its own. muy raw. it comes into view and... "down line" may be his finest post TV moment... spin that one if you made an early exit on this record. it'll getcha. "cortege" is also clean, crystaline and beautiful -- impossible to resist.

lloyd is a far greater guitar-song-songwriter than he gets credit for -- and scads of brilliant stuff he's done has never seen the light of day (he played a bunch of songs on the first field of fire tour that still k-o me today...but you gotta have the cassette I guess). see him play live tho, any chance you get...he's about 50X bigger than any room he plays.

and *that* is very rare these days.
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on April 4, 2015
An amazing album. Production it reminds me Raw Power only in the sense that your ears have to get acclimated to it. Richard proves that he is the guitar god that we always knew he was. You can hear what elevated Television from a good band to a great and innovative band on this release. In the song Torn Shirt the guitar riffs are amazing and the solos just shred,unbelievable. Submarine is another journey into what is possible with rock guitar. Imagine Scott Henderson , Randy Rhodes and Bill Nelson get together and jam, you'd be close to what Richard Lloyd pulls off in this song. Buy the CD and let it grow on you if you like guitar driven music. You will not be disapointed
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He's a great guitarist - one of the best rock guitarists ever, in my opinion. But he cannot sing a lick. It wouldn't matter if the songs were stronger, but they're not terribly strong. I hate saying this, but I have to be truthful. I love Richard Lloyd, but this is not his strongest stuff. I really think he ought to consider making an all-instrumental album. This is just my opinion, I still respect the man and I still love his playing. His playing here is excellent. However, other than that the album is unmemorable, and that's a shame.
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