Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn HItchcock

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 19 / 4 / 2017

Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn HItchcock

Label: Yep Roc
Format: CD
Irresistible 60’s-tinged yet contemporary self-titled solo album from former Soft Boys frontman Robyn Hitchcock


Robyn Hitchcock never disappoints. His long career, from Soft Boys to this release, has always been intriguing and often challenging. He describes this latest release as “an ecstatic work of negativity.” Having seen him interviewed late last year as part of the TalkingGigs series of events in Sheffield, I’d say a creatively driven cynicism is part of his appeal as well as his approach. He’s teasing, asking us to think of him as a new act, ‘”I’m only 63”, but he’s harking back to his early days, using Soft Boys instrumentation, two guitars, bass, drums and harmonies. Reminiscent of the Beatles and the Byrds, it’s an irresistible sound. “I’ve been making autumnal records since I was 30. Now I’m past the autumn of my life so I’ve decided to start making spring record. I can’t be bothered to sound as ancient as I am.” What a great attitude! Like his quotes, his lyrics are always worth listening to. Catchy tunes disguise surreal scenes and subjects. ‘Virginia Woolf’, with its Byrds and Beatles echoes is about the suicides of Woolf and Sylvia Plath. ‘I Pray When I’m Drunk’ is pure country, with slide guitar and beat, reminding us that Hitchcock is living and working in Nashville, with his pick of great musicians and singers. ‘Mad Shelley’s Letterbox’ took me back to Syd Barrett. ‘Detective Mindhorn’ refers to his friend Julian Barratt (of The Mighty Boosh)’s new film. ‘1970 in Aspic ‘means something to me too, and there are memories of the music I associate not just with Syd Barrett, but Kevin Ayers and Kevin Coyne. There’s a hint of early Jefferson Airplane and Sergeant Pepper in ‘Autumn Sunglasses’, and ‘Time Coast’. But above all, this is unmistakably Hitchcock, and his most personally revealing song is ‘Raymond and the Wires’, about childhood memories of his father, science fiction writer Raymond Hitchcock. Familiar and new, psychedelic and pop, old and young, autumn and spring, nostalgic and surreal, this collection of songs has all the keynotes you would associate with Robyn Hitchcock.

Track Listing:-

1 I Want to Tell You About What I Want
2 Virginia Woolf
3 I Pray When I'm Drunk
4 Mad Shelley's Letterbox
5 Sayonara Judge
6 Detective Mindhorn
7 1970 In Aspic
8 Raymond and The Wires
9 Autumn Sunglasses
10 Time Coast

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Live Reviews

Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, 21/4/2022
Robyn Hitchcock - Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, 21/4/2022
Lisa Torem at the Old Town School of Folk Music enjoys the Chicago show of Robyn Hitchcock’s long-awaited North American tour.
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