Robyn Hitchcock, 'Goodnight Oslo' (Yep Roc)

7
Goodnight Oslo
Critical Mass
Label: Yep Roc

by Jon Young

Hitchcock's second album with the Venus 3, who include R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, is less dazzling than 2006's Olé! Tarantula, yet still pretty compelling. Curiously, his psychedelic folk rock sounds more youthful now than it did in the '80s, despite the usual fixation on mortality. Witness the breezy "Your Head Here," on which Hitchcock purrs, "Ring my chimes / I'm a ding-dong daddy," or "Saturday Groovers," a charming detour into '70s nostalgia. Purists who prefer his morbid side can savor the sullen "16 Years" or the surreal title track, six minutes of nightmare fodder.

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