Known for his offbeat humor, absurdist lyrics and stream-of-consciousness riffs, singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is the subject and star of this documentary film shot in New York in 2008....
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Known for his offbeat humor, absurdist lyrics and stream-of-consciousness riffs, singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is the subject and star of this documentary film shot in New York in 2008. Hitchcock takes the train to New York to perform live in its entirety his 1984 album 'I Often Dream of Trains' which was produced originally in the most minimal circumstances possible and has grown into a cult classic. Written by
Robyn Hitchcock has a particular sensibility. In one sense, he's a folk-rock, punk-rock, jangly-guitar singer-songwriter-vocalist of exceptional genius, influenced by people like John Lennon, Roger McGuinn and Captain Beefheart. In another sense, he's a hyper-intellectual British comical weirdo, from the generation and mindset that produced Monty Python and Douglas Adams, and that in turn has influenced artists like Tim Minchin. In short, he's far from everyone's cup of tea--but he's talented enough, in his own particular way, to have attracted collaborators like Jonathan Demme and Peter Buck, and to be able to carry a concert film based on just one of his classic albums.
I Often Dream of Trains is one of his finest albums, and is from the middle of his strongest creative period (the late '70's to the late '80's), and this film documents a live performance of that album in NYC in 2008, and includes ample interstitial material, mainly interviews from 2008. The songs range from good to great, and aside from an unfortunate technical glitch during one particularly good song, these versions hold up quite nicely.
Overall this would be a reasonable introduction to Robyn--his catalog is huge and impressive, but this is a very solid album to choose to focus on. Robyn's small, but intense, fan-base, should find this film thoroughly delightful. It centers on music from his strongest period, and Robyn is not normally the sort to do an "all-oldies-show" (which is a pity, since his later work is not nearly as good as his classics), so this is a rare opportunity for long-standing fans from the '80's to see and hear a set of songs from circa 2008 Robyn that is so uniformly strong.
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