Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Propeller Time
The poet of weird returns with one of his more fully realised albums in a long while, Propeller Time. With a whole host of guest musicians including R.E.M.'s Pete Buck, Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows and Ministry's Bill Rieflin (billed as The Venus 3) as well as John Paul Jones, Johnny Marr and Nick Lowe, this album reminds us just what a top-notch lyricist Robyn Hitchcock is. Commencing with the folksy 'Star of Venus', the album's ten tracks have a dreamy, introspective quality delivered in Hitchcock's incomparable tenor which always sounds like he's got his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek. The 'Afterlight' is another winner, the music ambling along at a steady clip to Hitchcock's wonderfully bizarre lyrics: "Everyone is made of meat / They're full of life and life is sweet." 'Ordinary Millionaire', with its sad mournful oboe, is one of the most beautiful songs he has written, his wry vocals perfectly juxtaposed with the song's haunting melody:"To say you're only human / to say you're just a man / what does that mean?" 'John In The Air' and title track 'Propeller Time' hold the things up a bit with the mushy lacklustre melodies, but the pace picks up again with the lovely 'Primitive' and the rollicking 'Sickie Boy.' The album closes with the marvelous 'Evolove': "What you call God, I call evolution / What you call fate, I call mum and dad." Though perhaps not as stunning as his past work, this album still showcases Robyn Hitchcock's razor sharp wit and excellent choice in friends. Besides, it's always good to hear what he has to say.