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Jewels for Sophia

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iTunes Review

Though Robyn Hitchcock first came to attention with the new-wave psychedelia of the Soft Boys and for most of the ‘80s sculpted a similar sound with his backing group, the Egyptians, he has spent much of the ‘90s and onward sporting an acoustic guitar and stripped down arrangements that are almost disquieting in their intimacy. For 1999’s Jewels for Sophia, Hitchcock decided to turn on the electricity and he collaborates here with a number of notable folks, from producer Jon Brion to R.E.M.’s Peter Buck to members of the Young Fresh Fellows, Grant Lee Buffalo, and even his old Soft Boys bandmate Kimberly Rew. From the first tight drum snaps of “Mexican God,” it’s clear that Hitchcock is looking to test the sonic waters. “The Cheese Alarm” adds wayward electric guitar to what sounds like a drum circle gone awry. “You’ve Got a Sweet Mouth On You, Baby” and “No, I Don’t Remember Guildford” indulge Hitchcock’s latter day Dylan fixation with their folksy roots merging with Hitchcock’s moody psychedelic prime. The man never loses his flavor.

Customer Reviews

Well, I disagree.

I think this album is consistently great, no matter what the jaded 'official' reviewer claims. Every song is at least endearing, if not hilarious or wonderfully surreal. Though "NASA Clapping" has ruined a couple of sexual encounters for me with it's violently mood-killing intro, it still warms the cockles of my ears every time I listen. The lyrics are full of strange metaphors plucked from the ether. Definitely one of his best works. Can't wait to hear the fruits of his collaboration with Andy Partridge of XTC.

His overlooked gem on Warner Bros. from 1999.

This is one of Robyn's best, most consistent albums, though it's now overlooked. Viva Sea-Tac is a funny sendup of Seattle and it's culture, and there are lots of good, funny, melodic songs on this gem of an album. Don't overlook the hidden track at the end--Don't Talk To Me About Gene Hackman, it's great. Essential for the Robyn Hitchcock fan.


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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