Music Review: Goodnight Oslo

Robyn Hitchcock’s second album with the Venus 3 riffs on Dylan, R&B, and the Byrds.

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The psychedelic troubadour and erstwhile Soft Boys leader is enjoying a remarkable artistic renaissance after three decades in action. On his second album with the Venus 3, which includes R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, Hitchcock incorporates elements of Dylan, the Byrds, and Syd Barrett into his surrealistic scenarios, and embraces textural and lyrical simplicity without dulling his bittersweet edge. Adding a surprising dose of R&B, Goodnight Oslo offers typically sly meditations on mortality, identity, and other big subjects, among them the sunny “Saturday Groovers,” a seemingly mellow nostalgic romp that finds him musing uneasily, “Did we ever get it together?”

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