Wey Wey Hep a Hole Ding Dong: Robyn Hitchcock the song by song, album by album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, May 15, 2020.

  1. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    Yes, popping back to Winchester in this song for a negative-type simile.
    The Talbot was also a rather splendid British motor car:
    [​IMG]

    I missed Stupified but 2.6 about sums up my rating.
    I Love You is a bit more interesting, in the arrangement with the drone backing and fuzz guitar riffs, but it doesn't really work....and then the sappy middle bit which nearly evokes the Stones' 1967 classic but completely misses the point. 2/5
     
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  2. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    I Love You

    Haha. And I feel exactly the opposite, although we both end up in roughly the same place.

    This one has nice lyrics. But why such a nice sentiment is set to such ponderous, heavy music is a mystery to me.

    2/5
     
  3. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    I Love You -- nope. 2/5
     
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  4. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "I Love You" - No, I don't (I see Great Face got there before me). The lyrics are a little lightweight, but with the right music, that emphasizes the blind, happy, positivity, they might work. But this ain't the right music for it. He seems to be trying for some kind of heavy fuzzed up psychedelica, but it fails on that account, too. It's just not interesting enough, and as Great Face remarked, mostly reminds me of "Antwoman", another song I disliked; I kept hearing "Being just contaminates the void" over the actual lyrics (which would have made a better song here if he'd actually done that.) The unchanging drum machine pattern - his laziness in this regard also brings down other songs on this record - is also wearying over the course of the song. Some of the guitar effects and cello effects are cool, but not enough to give this more than: 1/5.
     
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  5. MattR

    MattR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    I couldn't even remember how this one goes before listening again. Pretty bad. 1.5/5
     
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  6. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    Great minds think alike.....or maybe fools seldom differ.

    Do we think that all of the drums on this record are programmed or is there a real but uncredited drummer?
     
  7. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    This track and the one with the tabla are def a drum machine, and it seemed to me several of the others were drum machines but I’d have to go back or ahead and listen again to verify.
     
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  8. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I guess they are all programmed as there is no drummer credited.
     
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  9. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Are programmed drums inherently bad? (Not asking you, specifically, Lance, just quoting your post.) I don’t think so. If it sounds good, that’s all that matters to me. Some styles of music would fail miserably with programmed drums. (Jazz!) Pop music can be successful with all sorts of electronic sounds.
     
  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    No I think they sound interesting in these songs because they are quirky pop songs (Robyn kind of branching out from his normal folk or jangle-pop.)

    But my ratings seem to be higher than others on this album.

    It depends on the song. Sometimes they can make a song sound stiff and inorganic, sometimes they are part of the gloss.
     
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  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    "I Love You" is all right. Teh backing track reminds me a bit of "Let's Go All The Way" by Sly Fox. Remember that song?


    This one isn't as good, but it's not that bad. I like it, good modern rock sound.

    3.3/5
     
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  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "I Love You"

    1-2
    2-5
    3-2
    4-0
    5-0
    Average: 2.0444
     
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  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I like this but I feel Robyn’s vocal isn’t quite right for the backing track. This is fluffy nonsense, alternative pop nineties style: 3.5/5.
     
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  15. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    The Devil makes yet another appearance - we've had the Coachman, the Radio, and of course sitting on a golden throne in our old favourite Furry Green Atom Bowl. I tend to think this shows a lack of inspiration on RH's part, something that runs through this album. Musically it falls over itself, a bit of a racket, with overtones of Kimberley style guitar riffs circa 1979, and that bopping bass which used to be a bit charming on some 80s sol0 stuff but sounds laboured here. 2/5

    Incidentally my CD of Tromso Kaptein arrived yesterday (!) - and sounds incredible, definitely better than the flac, sorry guys. Nice cover too. I'd now give the album a 5.
     
  16. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Devil on a String

    I don’t like this one at all. The beginning of the song reminds me of the Batman theme, and I can never shake that feeling every time that musical motif comes around in the song, which is a lot. The rest of it is just boring. I don’t find the lyrics interesting at all, and I don’t like the part sung by the female vocalists. In short, nothing for me here. ;)

    1.25/5
     
  17. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    There are definitely shades of the Soft Boys within this one; maybe a hybrid of Ugly Nora and Om, but that doesn't rescue it from being an awful mess. Once again he's heading off in a direction that is complete anathema to his regular modus operandi. The vocals are too thin for this sort of driving rhythm, the bass is annoyingly fussy and I'm sure that is a drum machine in the background.

    Regarding the latter, I've no problem at all with artificial beats in the right context, but for an artist like RH they rob the songs of an organic feel. I seem to remember him saying at the time that the album was recorded in small room at Paul Noble's flat in Clerkenwell so maybe there simply wasn't enough space for a full kit. These songs would sound a lot better if Morris had been involved.

    Lyrically it's a very weak effort too especially the contrived, rubbish middle eight, although the Three Degrees reference in the fade-out is quite funny.

    Devil On A String 1/5.
     
  18. MattR

    MattR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    Lyrically Hitchcock-by-numbers, with the backing track cold and cluttered. I do like the line about Salvation Pie though!
    2.5/5
     
  19. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Devil -- another 2/5 for me. All of the charm of Tromso is missing from this album so far.
     
  20. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I like this just fine, but there's not much to it. I dig the backing vocal bridge....lyrics are OK, music is OK....2.9/5
     
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    But they used a real drummer (overdubbed, I guess) on Tromso, Kaptein, and that was recorded at the same place with the same musicians (in fact, I kind of wonder if this is not just one of those Jewels For Sophia/Star For Bram dual albums that came from the same sessions, despite the marked difference in sound.)

    Regarding the sound, it's quite amazing that hitherto Robyn had really been able to avoid falling prey to the loudness wars. I mean, the Yep Roc reissues were brickwalled, but for the most part most of his contemporary CDs have all had really excellent dynamic range and All of his CDs, even the mediocre/bad ones sound pretty much great. And the Rhino reissues in the 90s, too.

    Up til now: but this is definitely brickwalled.

    He and Noble were definitely going for a different kind of sound with this album, a much more modern art/pop/alternative sound. It kind of works for me, but its true that the very heavy compression makes some of it seem cluttered. It works better on some songs than others.
     
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  22. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "Devil on a String" - lyrically, as others have remarked, this is Hitchcock by the numbers. I feel like he was sleepwalking when he wrote this album, to be honest. The tune is ok, but is marred by the clattering programmed percussion (there may be some live drums on here, but there's definitely a lot of programmed stuff). I feel like he's added a lot of stuff to try and make it interesting, like the chromatic "Batman" part, but, as Lance remarked, it winds up like generic "alternative music" from the 90's. 2/5.
     
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  23. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    Tromso Kaptein was recorded at Fortress Studios in Old Street in London with Stephen Irvine on drums while I'm pretty sure this one was done at Paul Noble's home studio and that the two are the result of completely different sessions.
     
  24. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Oh. I read an interview for Tromso era (I thought) where Robyn claimed that he and Paul Noble had recorded it (Tromso) in Paul’s bedroom and then overdubbed the other parts, some overdubs without Robyn’s presence. (Robyn didn’t meet the backing vocalists for example.)

    But maybe I was wrong about the date of the interview.
     
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  25. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    Definitely in jazz/soul. My least favourite use of drum 'programming' was where Donald Fagen on his last album Sunken Condos, instead of using a session drummer as usual, got his producer to play a succession of different drum phrases/patterns (the guy wasn't a drummer) which were then sort of stuck together in appropriate configurations for the backing tracks - the whole album sounded to me like demos.
     
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