Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Year by year: 1984


You can’t accuse me of being overly materialistic, but there are albums you love so much a digital copy seems a travesty. You have to actually own them. In a record store, you can’t go past them. Vinyl, CD or a fucking cassette. So that having loved this album for more than five years and having never resisted singing along with “Mellow Together”, I did not hesitate for one millisecond in The Morgan Arcade in Cardiff.

You could probably make a lame point about this album being patchy and uneven. You could – but that would be missing the point. It’s classic Hitchcock to put the nervy, quirky “Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl” alongside the sheer beauty that is “Cathedral”. Then there is this:

Then there is the clinically gorgeous “Flavour Of Night” and the wistful and timeless “Trams Of Old London” and, of course, the songwriting genius of “My Favourite Buildings”. Living side by side with “Furry Green Atom Bowl”, which sounds exactly the way that its title suggests. 

I Often Dream Of Trains is the quintessential solo Hitchcock album. There are times when you would prefer Black Snake Diamond Röle and there are times when you would prefer Eye or maybe Moss Elixir (“Man With A Woman’s Shadow” is an all-time favourite), but this is the one you need to best understand the talent and the demented charm of Robyn Hitchcock.