CD Review: Rychard Carrington reviews Propellor Time - Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3

Propellor Time cover
Local Cambridgeshire Artist
One senses that Robyn Hitchcock always wanted to become venerable, in a distinctively individual way, of course. For many years now, his new recordings have lacked the artistic urgency of his great 1980s albums. Rather, they have possessed the languid fertility of works by an old master, pottering with assured creativity. Robyn has compared Propellor Time to The Basement Tapes, and there is the same feel of friends relaxing together, employing inventive use of musical traditions to make enjoyable songs out of idiosyncratic poetic visions; in fact sometimes there is actually a comparable style of hearty American folkiness. John Paul Jones, Johnny Marr and Nick Lowe all drop in, alongside Venusian trio Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin. But more essentially Propellor Time (released on Terry Edwards' Sartorial label) is in the same vein as Robyn's previous two studio albums, Goodnight Oslo and Olé! Tarantula.


This is neither a new departure nor a return to vintage style, yet it's still another effortlessy classy work by a brilliant unique talent. Oh, but I remember having my head exploded by Underwater Moonlight; being caught in the solipsistic grip of Eye. Was surrealism meant to grow mellow and middle-aged? This is less like acid, more like upmarket wine.


This review previously appeared in the excellent national music magazine R2 (aka Rock'n'Reel). Reproduced by kind permission of the editor, Sean McGhee.


Writer: Rychard Carrington