Robyn Hitchcock, the British
singer/songwriter whose intimately resonant, raspy voice and
mysteriously peculiar worldview were shaped by such skewed troubadours
of his youth as Nick Drake, Syd Barrett and the Incredible String Band,
has long been said to make “autumnal” records. As in, “songs or singing
that reflect on life with a bittersweet, melancholy wisdom coming from
age and experience.”
After cranking out eight studio albums over the first 13 years of a recording career that began with the 1990 release Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em, the group’s most recent album, Rev, marks only the second studio release from the Dallas-based group since 2004’s Revival.
The Cincinnati quartet may have taken
five years to release their first full-length, last year’s bracing and
infectious Cause + Effect, but the members seem as energetic and
eager to move to the next phase as they must have been when they first
coalesced as a band half a decade ago.
My 10 favorite albums of 2014 (minus
Beyoncé’s last-minute 2013 surprise, the fascinating new D’Angelo
record, which I’ve only listened to a handful of times since it dropped
Dec. 15, and the new Spoon, which, though reliably stellar, sounds
pretty much like the last five Spoon albums since D’s last one, Voodoo, hit 15 years ago).
It’s been many years since I’ve listened
to Top 40 radio and while there are moments where I want to jump out of
the moving car (the repetition is the worst part of it), it hasn’t been
that bad of an experience.