Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 : Goodnight Oslo

robyn_hitchcock.goodnightoslo.jpgRobyn Hitchcock is one of the most prolific, yet constantly overlooked artists of our time. The British songwriter returns with his follow up to 2006’s well received Ole Tarantula. Goodnight Oslo again finds Hitchcock working with the Venus 3, comprised of longtime friends and veteran noise makers Peter Buck on guitar (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey on bass (The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.) and Bill Rieflin on drums (Ministry, R.E.M.).  The Venus 3 bring a sense of stability to what has always been the star of any Hitchcock album: his deep, at often times dark introspective lyrics that examine a seedy side of life.

But Goodnight Oslo is a breath of fresh air when compared to the rest of Hitchcock’s extensive catalog.  While much of his work dealt with what was once called “the modern neurosis,” Goodnight Oslo is in Hitchcock’s words, “largely about breaking out of a negative cycle, and believing that change can happen.”  It is at times, to use a couple of words not often associated with his past work, fun and playful.             

Long a masterful songwriter and storyteller, Hitchcock has seemingly discovered yet another impressive weapon to add to his songwriting arsenal – the pure pop song that bounces along with a sense of glee.  Driven by his trademark jangle and powered by the steady touch of the Venus 3, Goodnight Oslo is a powerful album that begs to be digested over a bottle of wine with good friends.  It is another strong statement from one of our generation’s most inventive songwriters.

It is what Hitchcock simply calls “The best record of my adult life.”

Goodnight Oslo is out now on Yep Roc.