Turning 60 in March 2013, none-more-English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is unquestionably about due for set up at nationwide treasure-dom’s prime desk.
Not that this, the erstwhile Gentle Boy’s 19th solo outing, panders solely to Hitchcockian stereotype: particularly, Syd Barrett-via-Edward Lear neo-psych-rock whimsy, with a aspect order of Paisley Underground guitar swirl and chime.
Certainly, whereas his customary playfulness in dissecting issues of the guts and cerebellum is a reassuring hallmark of Love From London, the album additionally proffers a brooding, politicised, generally incensed Hitchcock – even when its title does extra readily connote a beatific 1967 hippie “taking place”.
That ire is made most manifest on the motorik, fuzz-toned Repair You, during which Hitchcock vents his spleen on the architects of the present international monetary disaster and the following buck-passing: “They make you redundant and name you a slacker.”
Think about an up to date Plastic Ono Band giving it to the person, put up Bear Stearns, and so forth, and also you’re shut. Its righteous vitriol is ready askew by usually psychedelic references to “strawberry mousse” and the like.
Elsewhere, Hitchcock and his adroit band (bassist Paul Noble, cellist Jenny Adejayan and vocalists Lizzie Anstey, Jenny Marco, Lucy Parnell and Anne Lise Frokedal) become familiar with an eclectic litany of the person’s less-quotidian essays, his soi-disant “work you possibly can hearken to”.
Usually, Strawberries Costume marries the glinting psyche-pop of Hitchcock’s 80s combo The Egyptians with phantasmagoric lyrics concerning the Telecom Tower and “a nice younger sprite, bare from the naval downwards”.
Elsewhere, My Rain is a lilting, mysterioso late-night waltz, brimming with rollercoaster, Syd-like vocal mannerisms, rippling guitars and mournful cello.
Proceedings conclude with the sprawling Finish of Time, a tune that offers with the difficult enterprise of the post-existential void (ergo demise). Even right here, Hitchcock can disarm with a easy, childlike simile (“Day breaks like an egg”) and all over the place the doubtless portentous topic of mortality is deftly addressed.
It culminates in a hymnal, valedictory refrain which slowly fades into the ether, leaving simply the lapping waves of eternity, earlier than a coda, replete with a chant of the album title, returns us to the dwelling, respiration right here and now.