Gina Arnold
August 09, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Perspex Island

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

Ever since druids first painted themselves blue, England has been known for breeding eccentrics. Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock used to be one of the most fascinating, thanks to Monty Python-esque songs that, like 1984’s ”Uncorrected Personality Traits” and 1988’s ”Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis),” featured a hefty amount of drug-trippy babble. But recently Hitchcock has turned his gushing spigot of nuttiness way down, and on Perspex Island his eyeballs have finally stopped twirling. Listeners are now free to concentrate on his superb Beatles-inspired melodies, and, in songs like ”Ultra Unbelievable Love” and ”Earthly Paradise,” his pretty harmonies and folk-rock guitar work. Longtime fans, though, may find they miss Hitchcock’s impenetrable surreal lyrics, which always seemed to mask deep and moving insights. Or did they? Perspex Island makes one reconsider, and after years of believing Hitchcock a sage, it’s a bit disappointing to think that when he sang ”My Wife and My Dead Wife,” he was just lovesick like everybody else. B+

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