Robyn Hitchcock

Love from London

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2010's Propellor Time found Robyn Hitchcock basking in the anything-goes, notebook-clearing nature of largely minimalist offerings like Eye and I Often Dream of Trains, allowing the pop acumen of his recent work with the Venus 3 (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and Bill Rieflin), all of whom contributed, to beat the more abstract elements of the songs into submission. 2013's Love from London, recorded in an East London bedroom and released just days after Hitchcock's 60th birthday, retains some of its predecessor's penchant for wanderlust, but is altogether a much trippier beast, swapping out the acoustic foundation for a snappier pop/rock engine that harkens back to more propulsive outings like Element of Light and Fegmania! The piano-led, dirge-like "Harry's Song" starts things off on an ominous note, but it's a cloud that soon dissipates with the arrival of the playful and airy "Be Still" and the reliably absurd "Stupefied," both of which wouldn't have sounded out of place on 1988's Globe of Frogs. Love from London is at its best when the light and dark are forced to spend time together, as is the case on the album's two strongest cuts, the beautiful "Death & Love" and the heady, Flaming Lips-inspired, psych-pop closer "The End of Time." Hitchcock is clearly having fun here, and while that sense of joyful, mad abandon may not always result in quality (if there were such a thing as a Robyn Hitchcock song generator, the by-the-book "Devil on a String" would probably be the first track out of the gate), it's hard not root for a guy who, at 60, isn’t afraid to stand behind his "honey naked and uncooked."

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