RECORD REVIEW: Richard Lloyd

‘The Countdown’ distills a lifetime of turbulent genius into 10 emotionally-charged rockers

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Photo credit: Plowboy Records
RICHARD LLOYD: ‘The Countdown.’

History flows with oceanic movement as the first strum and flourishing guitar melody of “Wind In the Rain” take shape on Richard Lloyd’s The Countdown (Plowboy Records). If anyone needs a reminder that Lloyd was the MVP on Television’s seminal albums Marquee Moon and Adventure, The Countdown distills a lifetime of turbulent genius into 10 emotionally powerful rock 'n' roll numbers. It’s clear that Lloyd has a solid crew backing him up here — a Nashville A-team rhythm section featuring bass player Dave Roe and drummer Steve Ebe lay the foundation for The Countdown’s unwavering pace. Keys player Joe Bidewell, who toured with Lloyd supporting his 1979 solo debut Alchemy, brings a full-bodied sound to the album’s title track. Co-producer Ben Ewing finds balance between the band’s fluid motions and Lloyd’s penchant for rough-around-the-edges rock ‘n’ roll. Lloyd’s singing sounds a bit restrained; he’s less willing or perhaps unable to push himself as hard as he has on previous efforts. Still, the frailty and resilience on display in “Just My Heart” add depth to the songwriting and character of the album. However, it was never his voice that drew critical acclaim. On songs such as “So Sad,” “Whisper,” and “Down the Drain,” Lloyd’s lean and muscular Stratocaster crescendos soar to a degree that frankly, he hasn’t displayed since the ’70s. ★★★☆☆

★★★★★ This will change your life | ★★★★☆ A truly great release | ★★★☆☆ A solid effort. Worth a listen | ★★☆☆☆ Good but inconsistent | ★☆☆☆☆ Don’t bother

Richard Lloyd plays an evening of songs from The Countdown and beyond at City Winery. Wed., Jan. 9. $15. 6 p.m. 650 North Ave. N.E. 404-946-3791. www.citywinery.com.


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