Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Album review: ROBYN HITCHCOCK - Love From London

Highlights: Harry’s Song, Be Still, Death And Love, End Of Time

It’s good that Robyn Hitchcock has remained so prolific over the years. Because listening to Love From London, you realise, again and again, that the man’s songwriting has that inherent quirkiness which will never allow him to do anything bland or unworthy. That and his taste which has never betrayed him – whether he is singing about food, sex or insects…

Love From London is a comfortable late-period album from Hitchcock. I would argue that it sounds slightly more inspired than 2011’s Tromso, Kaptein, but there’s hardly too much distance between the two albums. He does his Lennon-esque-melodies-mingled-with-Barrett-esque-vibes thing perfectly. Which, thankfully, never gets boring.

“Harry’s Song” is an effective piano-based opener (he should do more of those), and one of this album’s main highlights. We then get to the set’s catchiest piece, “Be Still”, that shouldn’t be forgotten when someone decides to make a Robyn Hitchcock best-of millions years from now. Another huge favourite is “End Of Time” that finishes it all off in an aptly gorgeous, anthemic way. It should remind one of “Propellor Time” from 2010, which is high praise indeed. If I have any complaints, they are mostly to do with the album’s groove numbers (“Fix You”, “Devil On A String” and “I Love You”) that are decent but pale next to the dreamy classics like the jangly “Strawberries Dress” and particularly the spacious, magnetic “Death And Love” (most modern dream-pop bands should pretty much break up after hearing this one).

As ever, a great little album from Hitchcock. Strictly for fans, of course, but I don’t see why a newcomer would not feel moved by the clever melodies and the unfading charisma of a man who’s too odd to be John Lennon and too normal to be Syd Barrett. Not a problem: he is brilliant where he is.


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