Friday, November 30, 2012

Robyn Hitchcock 19: Luxor

The direct approach suited Robyn, and continued with the next installment in his discography. Originally distributed to attendees of his 50th birthday concert, Luxor begins with promise, being completely solo and mostly acoustic, just like the best albums of his heyday.
Indeed, “The Sound Of Sound” crawls along at a lovely slow pace, but is pushed aside by “One L”, a tribute to his wife that’s a little too personal to succeed. “Penelope’s Angles” follows a plucked pattern similar to “Autumn Is Your Last Chance”, but wanders off to repeatedly insist that “I am not a yam.” There’s something of a juxtaposition in the not-quite-there-ness of “The Idea Of You” and the much superior “You Remind Me Of You”. The title track is instrumental, and happily doesn’t evoke mental images of Vegas casinos, Egyptian relics or computer games. “Keep Finding Me” beings with an enticing melody that unfortunately loses its way in the bridges (“Be true to your drum/be true to your drummer/this summer is gonna be hot—hot!”).
“Maria Lyn” has some excellent lyrics, but the one-chord blues style has never been his most comfortable approach, no matter how many times he tries it (though “Solpadeine”, which closes the program does much better in the format, mostly because it offers more chords). “Round Song” is an improvement, its ringing 12-string and vocal effects sounding very much like the English psychedelic folk we imagine him loving without having heard it ourselves. The jumpy “Ant Corridor” seems more like a demo than anything else here, making little sense. The same could be said of “Idonia”, but somehow this particular mix of sea shanty and 1966 Dylan clicks. “The Wolf House” is another pretty instrumental staying just this side of revealing its structure.
Presented with little fanfare, Luxor re-establishes the trend of Robyn Hitchcock albums that are pleasant but not very exciting. Because of the perfection of I Often Dream Of Trains and Eye—not to mention the sheer entertainment his solo shows always provided—we desperately want to like this album more than we do. The rating should therefore be taken well within context, and we’d be surprised, albeit pleasantly, if anyone fell in love with his work based on this particular album.

Robyn Hitchcock Luxor (2003)—

1 comment:

  1. This definitely isn't an album that makes one fall in love with Robyn Hitchcock... but his next one "Spooked" (and most of the ones after it) made me fall in love with his music all over again. Looking forward to your reviews...