Nick’s knack for vintage country and pop in evidence once again
At My Age is the fourth product of Nick Lowe’s Americana phase, but it’s his first studio album in six years. The 58-year-old Brit has admitted that the songs came “in dribs and drabs,” borne out by the fact that only eight originals made the cut (the LP features three covers). “A Better Man” and “I Trained Her to Love Me” exhibit Lowe’s rueful, mock-confessional mode; “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” displays his skill at reinvigorating a cliché a la the Brill Building masters; “There’s Hope for Us All” deftly replicates the extended melody lines of Burt Bacharach and “The Other Side of the Coin” offers another elegant example of Lowe’s feel for the Tin Pan Alley balladic tradition. His world-weary vocals suit the nuanced, elegiac material, and the rigorously laidback arrangements are tasty, but overall, the album feels slight and redundant. Perhaps it’s time for the onetime Jesus of Cool to get out of his comfort zone.