Robyn Hitchcock, “The Man Upstairs”

robyn-hitchcock_the-man-upstairsRobyn Hitchcock
The Man Upstairs
YEP ROC
6/10

Recorded and mixed in a week by legendary producer Joe Boyd (Pink Floyd, Nick Drake), Robyn Hitchcock’s latest LP—his twentieth solo record in a thirty-plus-year career—is a collection of covers and originals. Now sixty-one, Hitchcock has morphed from the quirky, psychedelic oddity he was in his early years into an elder statesman of introspective, gentle contemplation (although remnants of the former do remain). As such, his take on the Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You” is a sparser, sadder, more fragile affair than the original, but the Doors’ “The Crystal Ship,” is infused with Hitchcock’s distinctive English eccentricity. Elsewhere, the acoustic folk “Trouble in Your Blood,” and the plaintive resignation of closer “Recalling the Truth” are two of Hitchcock’s finest originals. “Ferries,” by Norwegian indie-poppers I Was A King (and featuring that band’s Anne Frøkedal on backing vocals) is slightly unconvincing, but it’s a minor blip on an otherwise sumptuous, sublime record.

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