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Jewels for Sophia
     

Jewels for Sophia

by Robyn Hitchcock
 

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Since his days in the Soft Boys two decades ago, Robyn Hitchcock has matured, leaving behind his acid-tweaked John Lennon/Syd Barrett-spawned new waver days to become one of alt pop's most endearing middle-aged cranks. With a sardonic, increasingly lugubrious world view and a knack for keenly twisted melodies, he is both rangy social

Overview

Since his days in the Soft Boys two decades ago, Robyn Hitchcock has matured, leaving behind his acid-tweaked John Lennon/Syd Barrett-spawned new waver days to become one of alt pop's most endearing middle-aged cranks. With a sardonic, increasingly lugubrious world view and a knack for keenly twisted melodies, he is both rangy social commentator and elegant surrealist. But his best work (see 1995's PERSPEX ISLAND) happens when he stops worrying and learns to love the tune, thus creating dark, gorgeous -- and pop-filled -- updates on the Small Faces and early Floyd he grew up on. JEWELS FOR SOPHIA has just that sort of punch. The rollicking, folk-pop hum-along "Viva! Sea-Tac" satirizes the hipster haven known as Seattle ("they got the best computers and coffee and smack"), while the equally kicky Dylanesque "NASA Clapping" pokes fun at the space industry. But it's songs like the hazily psychedelic "The Cheese Alarm" and "Antwoman," both touched by Indian classical music, that'll trip a listener in new directions.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jack Rabid
Exhilarated by the simple joys of the Jonathan Demme movie Storefront Hitchcock, the celebrated Mr. H demonstrates more of the straightforward, idiosyncratic charm and scrumptious tunes that made his film such a surprise. And what a fine piece of work! Without altering his established formula, it's clear the one-time Soft Boys leader has hit on a good vein. No need for lush production, even if it worked well on some of his earlier '90s albums such as Perspex Island. Jewels just collects all his strengths. On the folk-rock numbers such as the strident "Mexican God," Hitchcock relies on a six-string acoustic and some light percussion. For the more lithe pop of "Sally Was a Legend," it's all restrained electric guitar and nimble, unobtrusive bass and drums to keep it smooth. A darker, scratchier, more foreboding '60s rock arrives on the low-down stomp of "Antwoman," or the more zippy, neo-Stones rockers "Elizabeth Jade" and "Viva! Sea-Tac." Lastly, a new, studio version of Storefront Hitchcock's solo-unplugged "I Don't Remember Guilford" is fleshed out with a somber piano, lugubrious violin, and old-West harmonica to make the tune sparkle even more. He has plenty of help, too. While fans are celebrating the return of original Soft Boy Kimberley Rew on two tracks for the first time in 18 years, Hitchcock also commandeered a squadron of reverent co-conspirators in other cities to make a good LP into a first-rate one. Three-quarters of the Young Fresh Fellows along with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck are unmistakable on a trio of Seattle-recorded tracks, especially "Elizabeth Jade." Elsewhere, guitarist Tim Keegan of Homer reprises the sidekick color-man role he played in the film, and who wouldn't want Grant Lee Phillips and Jon Brion to sit in on some L.A. sessions? More than two decades after first launch, Commander Hitchcock is still firing super-creative rockets. Jewels indeed.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/17/2007
Label:
Noble Rot
UPC:
0617742500424
catalogNumber:
5004

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robyn Hitchcock   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Harmonica,Piano,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Slide Guitar
Scott McCaughey   Bass,Hand Clapping
Kurt Bloch   Organ,Percussion,Hand Clapping
Jon Brion   Organ,Bass,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,chamberlain,Key Bass
Peter Buck   Guitar (12 String Electric)
Patrick Hannan   Drums
Tad Hutchinson   Percussion,Drums,Hand Clapping
Tad Hutchison   Drums
Grant-Lee Phillips   Bass,Voices
Kimberley Rew   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Vocal Harmony
James Fletcher   Saxophone
Rob Allum   Drums
John Fell   Bass
Tim Keegan   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,Voices,Shaker,Vocal Harmony
Jake Kyle   Bass

Technical Credits

Robyn Hitchcock   Producer,Art Direction,Illustrations
Jon Brion   Producer,Engineer
Pat Collier   Producer,Engineer
Bill Inglot   AMS Audiophile Operator
Ethan Johns   Engineer
Stephen Walker   Art Direction
Pete Gerrald   Producer,Engineer
Charlie Francis   Producer,Engineer
Michele Noach   Cover Art
Scott Schinder   Liner Notes

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