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Jewels for Sophia

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4

All-Reviews.com Music Review: Jewels for Sophia

Artist: Robyn Hitchcock
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: July 1999


Review by LarryG
3½ stars out of 4

For 20 years, Robyn Hitchcock has been one of the weirdest, most interesting and best writers around. He's usually been able to find interesting musical settings to present his surreal tales. However,  much of his 90's work has been fairly austere musically. Respect, released after Hitchcock's father died, was even uncharacteristically subdued lyrically, with the exception of the wacky Wafflehead and the Yip Song. Jewels For Sophia is a triumphant return to his peak form of Fegmania and Element of Light. Hitchcock seems to have regained confidence in his writing and his playing. Jewels For Sophia has silly, fun moments as well as touching, well written songs and it is also relatively polished. Since he broke up the Egyptians, Hitchcock has mostly worked solo acoustic. Here he benefits from good musical support, including from long time supporter, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, and Young Fresh Fellows on Viva Sea-Tac and Elizabeth Jade. Hitchcock's sense of humor is in fine form. Viva Sea-Tac is a mock tribute to the northwest: "it's got the best computers and coffee and smack." Cheese Alarm is about needing help for his cheese addiction. It's classic Hitchcock when he sings of Antwoman "with her Audrey Hepburn feelers". He makes the bizarre declaration, "being just contaminates the void" and then urges the audience to sing along. The song slows down to a cool keyboard line to focus on the line, "She rises and she hops and then she eats you/I ain't gonna argue with a dame like that." The cd ends with an extra, uncredited track mostly about how Gene Hackman's "in every film."

The record is also fun musically. The songs with Hitchcock's old Soft Boys partner Kimberly Rew are especially good. Sally Was a Legend is a Byrdsy easy rock. NASA Clapping has a great breakneck pace and a fun harmonica from Hitchcock. The song is apparently about NASA clapping because Hitchcock's found true love, as had been predicted by Buzz Aldrin. It also contains a prediction of cows and jails on the moon until we contaminate it so much that it "becomes a shrieking skull." Jewels for Sophia also has some great quieter moments when he's basically on his own. You've Got a Sweet Mouth on You, Baby is a nice, fairly straight love song. No, I Don't Remember Guilford (also included on the soundtrack to the good Jonathan Demme movie about Hitchcock, Storefront Hitchcock) is a beautiful, wistful song about not remembering the past. Only the title track is a little too heavy. Jewels For Sophia is the great, rich work of a brilliant writer and performer.

10000031

 


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