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Goodnight Oslo

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iTunes Review

With R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and his touring partners Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey backing Robyn Hitchcock as the Venus 3, Goodnight Oslo is very much a band album. Though it's Hitchcock's songs and voice leading the circus, it's Buck's backing jangle guitar and the rhythm section's unassuming grace that brings these songs to life as if the foursome were caught impromptu in a comfortable living room kicking back a few beers and enjoying each other's company. "What You Is" uses a Creedence-like "Run Through the Jungle" guitar tremolo to signify the impending good time, while "Saturday Groovers" kicks in with spirited band interplay. However, as Hitchcock ages — he's been recording since the ‘70s — he's most effective on the songs that reflect back ("Goodnight Oslo," "Sixteen Years") or use a forlorn turn of melody to convey their tortured emotions ("I'm Falling"). He still enjoys the possibilities of love and language ("Intricate Thing") but he's most at home indulging in some pretty harmonies that make anything he says sound like the right thing to believe.

Customer Reviews

Robyn Hitchcock's Renaissance Continues

Robyn Hitchcock has had a long career comprised of Soft Boys, Egyptians, Indie success and major label egress. The new era of Robyn's career continues today with the release of his second album backed by the Venus 3 (AKA 3/5 of REM). Those who delight in Robyn shouting about vegetables & mollusks while spitting bile at some enemy or other may be disappointed, but those who have matured along with Robyn into semi-functioning adults will revel in his poetic take on the world around us. As with Ole' Tarantula, Goodnight Oslo reveals it's charms with repeated listens. Robyn is energized by his new first rate backing band and this new music certainly benefits from the absence of Andy Metcalfe's overly busy basslines.

a very pleasant surprise

Hadn't really checked out Robyn's music in quite a while, but I find these tunes catchy, current, lyrically interesting. Nice alt country production too.

Another Surprise from the Experienced Mr. Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock's been at this a long time. When most people have been at it this long they find a groove to settle in. They may journey outside that groove, but it's like gravity. They're pulled back into orbit. Not so with Robyn Hitchcock. Mr. Hitchcock comes up with something unexpected every time he releases an album. Perhaps the least surprising thing he'd done was Respect. But even that pleased where needed. "Goodnight, Oslo" was not what I expected after "Ole Tarantula". It's nice to see him sticking with the Venus 3 for a time without settling into a "sound". Robyn is certainly creative and wastes no time trying to fit a mold. Or even figure out what a mold is. But if that mold is green and fungal, maybe he's written about it. I'd characterize "Goodnight, Oslo" as a fun album, while another curious listen. It sounds like it was a thrill to make. Everyone's making reference to the Beach Boys touch he puts in a couple of places. And yeah, that's there (well done). Those kinds of explorations (and there are more) are what makes this album so much fun. In the way "Spooked" sounded so much like Robyn but also like something he hadn't done before, so does this.


Born: March 3, 1953 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. Despite having been persistently branded as eccentric or quirky for much of his career, Hitchcock has continued to develop his whimsical repertoire, deepen his surreal catalog, and expand his devoted audience beyond the boundaries of cult stature. He is among alternative rock's father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest inspiration). Starting...
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