Monday, September 15, 2014


The delightfully eccentric British singer Hitchcock returns rather quickly after last year's successful Love From London.  The reason he could move so fast is the simple production on this album.  It's all-acoustic, all-sparse sounds, featuring guitar and cello, or piano a couple of times, another with harmonica, and some background vocals, that's it.  Normally a bit on the psychedelic side, here Hitchcock strips it back to the basics.  He's done this before, with one-off projects of recording entire Dylan albums, collaborations with fan musicians such as Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, or being obsessed with bugs.  He's also dabbled plenty in acoustic music, which makes for a tough choice.  Would you like to hear him go on wild adventures with pals such as Peter Buck, or hear his gentle side, with the hypnotic guitar playing and quirky voice wooing and lulling you.

The idea here was warm and woody, with lots of up-close atmosphere.  Working on the project was the illustrious Joe Boyd, he of Nick Drake on the folk side, but the early producer of another of Hitchcock's heroes, Syd Barrett and the very early Pink Floyd.  He brings Hitchcock right into your head, the guitar/cello combo providing the right mellow mood, Robyn dishing up some thoughts on aging gracefully, and how the mysteries of life continue on, nothing seeming any clearer despite the advancing age.  Actually quite a bit of the tales come from covers this time, Hitchcock choosing to re-interpret a few add choices at acoustic numbers.  The disc opens with The Psychedelic Furs' number The Ghost In You, always a lovely song that loses nothing relieved of its 80's production.  The Doors' Crystal Ship is another success, the Morrison bombast replaced by piano and a sensitive reading by Hitchcock:  "Before you slip into unconsciousness, I'd like to have another kiss, another flashing chance at bliss."  Hitchcock describes this as an album with a lot of autumn on it, with nostalgia and middle-age.  Better to embrace it then, as he has done here.

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