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Todd Rundgren - Hermit of Mink Hollow CD (album) cover

HERMIT OF MINK HOLLOW

Todd Rundgren

 

Crossover Prog

3.08 | 23 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I was surprised to read some of the earlier reviews which give the impression that this is merely a collection of average tunes. To be sure, you can't call this symphonic prog, but taken on its own terms, as a song suite (mainly piano-based) HERMIT OF MINK HOLLOW seems one of Todd Rundgren's most impressive inventions.

Of Rundgren's previous solo albums it's A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR and SOMETHING/ANYTHING that I know best. They both contain magnificent material, and SOMETHING/ANYTHING has been widely acclaimed as an early seventies pop masterpiece, but I sometimes get the feeling Todd was trying to cram in too many styles, too many sentimental ditties. He usually makes me reach for the skip button.

HERMIT OF MINK HOLLOW, on the other hand, is a joy from start to finish. (It helps that the album is only just over thirty minutes long. But such a thirty minutes!) Apparently Todd rushed to the studio after the break-up of a long-term relationship, and you feel his pain. Tracks like "Hurting for You" and "Lucky Guy" are full of bitterness, but there are few tunesmiths in rock who would have expressed their sorrow in a melody as quirky as "Can We Still Be Friends". At the same time, this album's most visionary tracks (i.e. "All the Children Sing" and "Fade Away") exude the kind of exultation which is mainly experienced (from time to time) by people who are truly down in the dumps. As a listener you're not sure if you're supposed to laugh or cry. I see it as pure magic!

As if his own suffering were not enough, Todd takes on the misery of the world's poor and downtrodden in tracks like "Bread" and "Bag Lady". The songs are short, but Todd's performances are full of confidence. Light relief is provided by "Onomatopoeia" and "You Cried Wolf".

HERMIT may not be the best introduction to Todd Rundren's career, but if you care for his other solo albums, it seems likely you'll enjoy this album as well. Me, I'm just amazed that within the scope of only six or seven years Todd surprised us with so many gorgeous melodies.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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