Robyn Hitchcock

I Wanna Go Backwards

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Robyn Hitchcock's large armory of material is tailor-made for the reissue circuit -- his entire post-Soft Boys, pre-A&M output was remastered and re-released in the early '90s by Rhino with bonus cuts and extended liner notes for ingestion by the newly enlightened college radio demographic -- so it comes as no surprise that amidst a career resurgence in 2007 due to the well received Spooked and Olé! Tarantula, as well as the Sundance Channel documentary Sex, Food, Death & Insects. comes another set of reissues, this time from the Yep Roc label. The first boxed installment, I Wanna Go Backwards (each disc is available separately as well) collects his solo debut Black Snake Diamond Role, I Often Dream of Trains, Eye, and a grab bag of singles both rare (and not so rare) called While Thatcher Mauled Britain: Demos '81-'90. The bonus tracks on each disc differ from the early-'90s reissues in that they are spread about (among new rarities) between the four albums. Also, the inclusion of album tracks like "A Skull, A Suitcase & A Long Red Bottle of Wine" and "Mystic Trip" from 1986's Invisible Hitchcock (one of his finest releases) on the Black Snake Diamond Role disc is a bit confusing, as one would hope for a quality remastering of that album, as well. Elsewhere, While Thatcher Mauled Britain's first half is populated by almost all of the key tracks from 1995's You & Oblivion, where Eye's "College of Ice" instrumental has been sent as well. Each disc comes with original Hitchcock artwork, comics, and stories, and the remastering, especially on BSDR is exceptional. With more reissues to come (though no word on the elusive A&M years), this is just the tip of the iceberg, and while the construction of I Wanna Go Backwards may be a bit schizophrenic, it's all in there; every snake, lizard, pad of cheese, boring little creep, furry leg, and nostril with a bean in it.

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