Robyn Hitchcock has made a few albums that announce themselves as masterpieces right out of the box, such as I Often Dream of Trains, Fegmania!, or the Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight, but his catalog also includes a handful of records that sneak up on you with a subtle excellence, such as Eye, Respect, and Jewels for Sophia. Propellor Time falls into the latter category; on the surface, it doesn't feel all that different from the albums that immediately preceded it (Olé! Tarantula and Goodnight Oslo), but play it a few times, let it sink in, and this album sounds like one of the most satisfying things Hitchcock has made since the mid-'90s. Primarily recorded in 2006 but not completed until 2010, Propellor Time features Hitchcock backed by his frequent partners the Venus Three, featuring Peter Buck on guitar and mandolin, Scott McCaughey on bass, and Bill Rieflin.
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