Review: Robyn Hitchcock: I Wanna Go Backwards

Robyn Hitchcock, I Wanna Go Backwards  Considering that the albums collected on I Wanna Go Backwards have been reissued two or three times already, with extra material added each time, it might seem hard to justify this new box set. But English folk-psychedelic songwriter Robyn Hitchcock has carefully combed through his archives, adding 20 previously unreleased songs and culling a few weaker ones to produce the most definitive editions yet of his three 1980s-era solo albums Black Snake Diamond Role, I Often Dream Of Trains, and Eye, as well as a two-disc set of rarities, While Thatcher Mauled Britain, and a digital-only release of the black-sheep 1982 album Groovy Decay. (His ’80s albums with backing band The Egyptians will be collected on another box set next year.) The new material here makes the appeal for Hitchcock completists obvious, but Backwards is also a good starting point for neophytes. Collectively, Trains, Eye, and Black Snake cover the breadth of Hitchcock’s cracked genius, encompassing much of the best of his sardonic humor, surrealistic imagery, intricate guitar-work, and lyrical obsessions with sex, psychology, death, and shellfish.

Originally published on Nov. 20, 2007. Read the complete article.

Interview: Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn HitchcockInfluenced by punk rock and Pink Floyd, English songwriter and guitarist Robyn Hitchcock has carved out an enviable career as a cult artist, from The Soft Boys in the late 1970s through last year’s OléTarantula, recorded with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Young Fresh Fellows’ Scott McCaughey. Hitchcock’s recent work still ranks among the best of his career, but this year, he’s also playing archivist with I Wanna Go Backwards, a new box set covering three of his critically best-regarded solo albums—Black Snake Diamond Role, I Often Dream Of Trains, and Eye—plus a two-disc rarities compilation, While Thatcher Mauled Britain. Another set covering his albums with backing band The Egyptians is slated for 2008, as well as another new album with most of the Tarantula crew. Hitchcock recently talked with The A.V. Club about the death of the album, new and old songs, “quirkiness,” and why Seattle is Hitchcock’s favorite U.S. city.

Originally published on Nov. 13, 2007. Read the complete article.

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