Review: Nick Lowe’s sardonic duality on display on new EP

Nick Lowe, “Lay It On Me” (Yep Roc Records)

In typical Nick Lowe fashion, the upbeat love song that’s the title track of his latest EP, “Lay It On Me,” is immediately followed by a note of caution: “Don’t Be Nice to Me.”

And just to pile on the misery, he follows that up with a cover of a 1962 Brenda Lee hit “Here Comes That Feeling,” a song not about finding love, but losing it.

It’s that sardonic duality that’s long endeared Lowe to music fans over his more than 40-year career. After all, this is the guy perhaps best known for “Cruel to Be Kind.” And true to form, thanks to the surf-rock backing of Los Straitjackets, Lowe combines his tales of love lost with an upbeat, ‘50s-era groove that will help you forget the sad tales he’s weaving.

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“Here comes that lonely feeling again (you can’t fight the feeling),” the 71-year-old Lowe sings in a tone that almost sounds like he’s enjoying it. If anything, Lowe sounds the most melancholy on “Lay It On Me,” the one love song.

The only other tune on this oh-too-short release is an instrumental remake of the 1969 Shocking Blue song “Venus.”

“Lay It On Me” marks the third EP in two years to feature Los Straitjackets, the Nashville-based, Mexican wrestling-mask wearing band now in their fifth year backing up Lowe.

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