Love From London
It’s hard to think of a time when Robyn Hitchcock was out of form as such – and a great run continues with this, his latest. At 60, having released some two-dozen albums with The Soft Boys, The Egyptians, Venus 3 and as a solo act – including completely solo and various band-backed projects – Hitchcock shows no signs that he’s lost it with another charming set of songs.
I’m starting to hear Hitchcock’s albums – from the last decade – as the sort of solo albums that Ray Davies probably should have made (but couldn’t/didn’t). You still hear traces of that all-important Syd Barrett influence and that possibly kindred soul Julian Cope. But whether playing it slightly funky or all-out with the lonely, moody folkish, noirish pop Hitchcock is his own man. That voice still able to carry whimsy, wit and wisdom, to switch effortlessly from wry humour to the dark and twisted, from bright and sunny to deep melancholy; the writing, if not peerless remains fearless and in the post-Britpop world Hitchcock remains able to issue his versions of Beatles and Beach Boy influence without anything seeming self-conscious, cloying, copyist or simply trite.
Love From London reminds of so many other strong albums from 1984’s I Often Dream Of Trains through 2004’s Spooked but I like to hope it might find new fans. Because Hitchcock devotees already know that the quality-control is strong; already know to check out their man. I like to think Love From London could find new fans, there’s really no reason why not.