Since making a name for himself as a member of The Soft Boys in the late 1970s, Robyn Hitchcock has been riding a wave as a solo artist that has gained him a strong, loyal and growing following. His latest release, Goodnight Oslo put out on Yep Roc Records, promises to widen his fan base even further.
(photo courtesy of Carina Jirsch for robynhitchcock.com)
Here’s a review from Hitchcock fan and guest blogger Jack Alcott:
Robyn Hitchcock’s music is probably an acquired taste, but once you’re hooked on the guy, it’s hard not to enjoy his art-addled, cockeyed musical take on the world.
His latest effort, “Goodnight Oslo” with his band The Venus 3 delivers more inspired pop madness — all wrapped in catchy, swirling riffs and candy-colored psychedelia, with more than a touch of melancholy northern light.
Hitchcock writes his songs the way an abstract painter creates wild, visually layered canvases, and sometimes it seems he’ll slap anything down to see what sticks.
But whatever his artistic pretensions (and he is a painter and sculptor), Hitchcock and The Venus 3 have plenty of rock ‘n’ roll heart. REM guitarist Peter Buck lays down simultaneously awesome and tasty leads and is a good foil for Hitchcock’s eccentric song dynamics. If things go too far out, Buck brings it all back home with just the right chiming, distorto guitar or great clanging, banging chord changes.
At his best, Hitchcock’s songs like “I’m Falling” build and throb and will have you pushing the replay button over and over.
He’s ultimately an amazing musical magpie who borrows from all over time and space. You’ll hear eerie shards of The Velvet Underground’s “Loaded” period, early Kinks and British Invasion, some Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators, and even a touch (particularly in the lyrics and rhythmical experimentation) of Captain Beefheart, another noted visual artist, aka Don Van Vliet.
“Saturday Groovers,” for instance, is an irresistible pop confection that instantly summons up summery 60s tunes by The Monkees and The Dave Clark Five — as reimagined by Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd.
While “Goodnight Oslo” is not quite up to 2006’s brilliant “‘Ole Tarantula,” it’s got plenty of shimmering sounds that will find their way into your head and stay there, strangely humming for days.