British singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock, known for his surreal, often mystical narratives, has recently teamed himself with the Venus 3. Made up of Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and Bill Reiflin, the Venus trio is known to some as my current favorite band, Seattle’s The Minus 5, or to most as half the current lineup of REM. Not surprisingly, Buck’s trademark arpeggio plucking, and the M5’s signature garage jangle permeate the songs of Hitchcock’s most rocking album in a good ten years or so. But really, it’s all a façade.These are tales of sadness, sexual frustration, and impending death, including “NY Doll”, which was written as an elegy for late New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane, and “Underground Sun”, a more energized than mournful tune, written for a recently passed friend. My favourite on this record so far remains “(A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs”, inspired by a misheard quote from the 1973 Clint Eastwood movie Magnum Force, moments before Lt. Neil Briggs steps into a vehicle which promptly explodes.In addition to the Venus 3, the former Soft Boy hired a gaggle of rock royalty to make cameo appearances, including Ian McLagen of the legendary Small Faces/Faces, who plays keyboards on “New York Doll”, and Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger, who adds harmony vocals to most of the album.Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, and a whole slew of local music identities will perform at the Crocodile Café in Seattle on November 25, with The Minus 5 taking the opening slot. If anything like his show there last March, it will prove a memorable night, and more than worth the pain in the ass border delays.