Robyn Hitchcock’s lucid and comprehensible singing on February’s Goodnight Oslo defies the album’s theme: a retrospective on almost two decades of intoxication and recovery. With folk-rock nods to Bob Dylan and R.E.M. (Peter Buck has played with Hitchcock’s Venus 3 since 2005), Goodnight Oslo moves gracefully from celebrations of excess, such as the track “I’m Falling” in which Hitchock coos, “There’s a thin line between what you do/And what you should/Every time I cross it/I just feel insanely good,” to remorseful forehead-slappers like “16 Years,” in which he moans, “16 years, and all I got was high/16 ways to shrivel up and die.” Airy backup vocals, reverb-laden guitars, and uptempo bridges effectively counterbalance Hitchcock’s darkly surreal lyrics, but concertgoers can expect to occasionally dip into the doldrums when he breaks out in monologue between songs.
HITCHCOCK AND VENUS 3 PERFORM AT 8 P.M. AT THE BLACK CAT, 1811 14TH ST. NW. $20. (202) 667-4490.