Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3: Goodnight Oslo

I just picked up Goodnight Oslo, the latest from Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, the Venus 3 being R.E.M.'s Peter Buck on guitar, Minus 5/Young Fresh Fellows/R.E.M'er Scott McCaughey on bass, and Ministry/R.E.M.'s Bill Rieflin on drums. It's a very interesting album, quintessentially Hitchcock and yet very different from his other work, even different from the previous Venus 3 album, Ole! Tarantula. If I had to describe it to those-who-will-understand, I'd say it's almost like the complete Groovy Decay/Gravy Deco Sessions, filtered through middle-period R.E.M. With horns. Hitchcock says the CD is about saying goodbye to cycles of negativity, moving out of the "smoke age" of cigarettes and gasoline, and about hope and change.

"You never know when the clock will stop," he says. "I will probably never time-travel, heal the sick or levitate, which were the natural ambitions I had as a boy. But I have trained myself to write songs and perform them, and I'm still developing those abilities. I am past my peak as an animal, but not as an artist. Of course, your work doesn't necessarily improve with age; it just mutates. You have to give birth to those mutations, I guess. So my songs may be no better now than 30 years ago; they're merely alive in a different way, fed on different emotional nutrients, as I am."


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