Album Reviews

Album Review: Robyn Hitchcock And The Venus 3 – Propeller Time (Sartorial Records)

By | Published on Thursday 10 June 2010

Robyn Hitchcock Venus 3

Plugging away as the Bob Dylan of very English, very alternative rock, Robyn Hitchcock’s almost thirty years in the music business has yet to see his surrealist, warm-hearted songwriting take to the mainstream. Not that he’d want it to. He may play to a niche market, but it’s an audience who can understand the brilliance of the steady drip of peculiar imagery and Lloyd Cole-style delicate indie-folk that fills this latest work.

The smiles come immediately as ‘Star Of Venus’ offers a genial backing to a simple melody, sung in Hitchcock’s usual high-strung, near sardonic tones, that fit perfectly the odd ponderings on ‘fossilised trees’. And the pleasure continues as fellow 80s indie stars – The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and REM’s Peter Buck – offer their songwriting abilities and guitar talents to ‘Ordinary Millionaire’ and the title track respectively. The former is an obvious pop highlight, with trademark intricacy and modest flourish, while Buck’s turn becomes the central ballad, verging on the darker shades of grey, but saved from bleakness by that wonderful voice.

Hitchcock is still a joy, and still relevant – particularly as fellow geeks like Brian Cox and Robin Ince take over comedy and TV – with the baffling but beautiful ideas behind evolution and nature a sticking point for a man whose own world many may not assume to be so rational. It’s a nice place to visit, though. And ten tracks seems the perfect amount of time to stay before heading back home again. TM

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