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Robyn Hitchcock

Love From London (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013 Records

Robyn Hitchcock

Love From London (Yep Roc)

"Rock & roll is an old man's game now, so I'm staying in it," asserts Robyn Hitchcock in the bio accompanying this decidedly mature work. With a stated fulcrum of love in the time of impending climate catastrophe, Love From London turns Hitchcock's unparalleled eye for whimsically clever turns of phrase toward autumnal subjects like melancholia and mortality. Chilling, piano-driven opener "Harry's Song" depicts a loved one's slow fade into something unrecognizable. This brave leadoff gives way to "Be Still," which gets mired in oversanitized, adult lightness, even as Hitchcock implores us to accept darkness as part of life. Similarly, processed drums undermine the deep, abiding intimacy Hitchcock sings about on "I Love You." "Strawberries Dress" fares better as a colorful answer to "Raspberry Beret," but it's sadly not enough to redeem this otherwise enthralling collection of tunes from arrangement and production missteps. (9pm, Continental Club)

**.5

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