Release Date: Oct 5, 2004
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Sometime after the release of 2003's sparse and slightly chilly Luxor, Robyn Hitchcock attended his first Gillian Welch show. Impressed by the duo's rootsy adherence to the organic -- two guitars, two voices -- he approached the longtime fans -- Hitchcock unknowingly signed David Rawlings' guitar at a Boston in-store in 1989 -- and exchanged digits. The unlikely partnership came to fruition at Nashville's Woodland Studios a few months later, and in just six days the lovely, intimate, and typically eccentric Spooked was born.
With Syd Barrett missing in action and Julian Cope often AWOL, psychedelic troubadours are becoming thin on the ground. Happily, former Soft Boy Robyn Hitchcock is still in fine form at 50 and has the kind of loyal following that allows him to trek after his muse at will. For this umpteenth solo album, that means hooking up with folkies Gillian Welch and David Rawlings who confessed their Hitchcock fandom after the troubadour wandered in on a gig of theirs last year.
Robyn Hitchcock’s got an eye for melancholy absurdity. That’s established, as are his effete tendencies (he’s been the Chris Ware of pop for longer than many of his fans have been toilet-trained). Every time he interjects a wrenchingly blunt emotional or sexual confession into his hallucinogenic satire, his relevance prevails. He still worships Bob Dylan, but Hitchcock’s as cool as Dylan might have been, had Zimmy's career-wise self-awareness run deep enough to make him play the fool on purpose.