Alas, Halloween time is over. I am not overcome with despair, however. November is one of my most favorite months. The weather is not quite the terror that is December chill or the overcoming heat of July. It’s quite nice out (at least, around here anyways) and I love music that reflects this feeling. Robyn Hitchcock is a singer-songwriter in the Syd Barrett mold. He takes really strange topics and coins unusual phrases but does so with simple arrangements. This is his most “Winter” album. The sparse music and bleak lyrics really cast a mood. I Often Dream of Trains is an acoustical masterpiece.
After a brief but nice piano instrumental, Robyn throws us head first into the deep end. Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl is a darkly comic number with some great acoustic guitar playing from Robyn. We leave LooneyLand momentarily with the dark and pretty Cathedral. It’s one of the more introspective numbers on the album It asks us what goes on in the cathedral of The Mind. Don’t worry though, things don’t stay serious for long. Uncorrected Personality Traits gives us a strange cast of characters, all massively unhinged. Sound’s Great When You Are Dead is my favorite song on the album. It takes the lyric style from the two other crazy tracks, but is arranged similar to Cathedral. Really, you get the best of both the sides of Robyn Hitchcock. The folk troubadour and the Madcap.
Really, most of the tracks fall on the introspective side of things. The overreaching theme of the album is reflecting on a life lived. The title song is a description of memories of Robyn’s childhood homes. Truly, this album is the embodiment of November and Early December. With it’s acoustics and it’s bleak outlook, I can think of no better album to listen to as you walk among the bare trees and feel the cool wind sting your face. This album is a true Gem of The 80′s and I recommend it to fans of sparse Folk like Elliot Smith or Nick Drake. Or just anyone looking to go outside of the box.