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The Soft Boys|Underwater Moonlight

Underwater Moonlight

The Soft Boys

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After recording the material that would later comprise the bulk of Invisible Hits, the Soft Boys recorded their masterpiece, the shimmering neo-psychedelic Underwater Moonlight. Essentially, the band didn't change their style for the record -- they merely perfected it. The Soft Boys don't hide their influences -- whether its the ringing guitars of the Beatles and Byrds or the surreal humor of John Lennon and Syd Barrett -- but they assimilate them, resulting in a fresh, edgy take on '60s guitar pop. Robyn Hitchcock's subject matter tends to be more explicitly weird and absurdist than his influences, as titles like "I Wanna Destroy You," "Old Pervert," and "Queen of Eyes" indicate -- even "Kingdom of Love" equates romance to bugs crawling under your skin. But the lyrics aren't the only thing that are edgy -- the music is too. The Soft Boys play pop hooks as if they were punk rock. "I Wanna Destroy You" isn't overtly threatening like their post-punk contemporaries, but with its layered guitar hooks and dissonant harmonies, it is equally menacing. Furthermore, the group can twist its songs inside out and then revert them to their original form, as evidenced by "Insanely Jealous." Although the neo-psychedelic flourishes are fascinating, the key to record's success is how each song is constructed around rock-solid hooks and melodies that instantly work their way into the subconscious. In fact, that's the most notable thing about Underwater Moonlight -- it updates jangling, melodic guitar pop for the post-punk world, which made it a touchstone for much of the underground pop of the mid-'80s, particularly R.E.M.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Underwater Moonlight

The Soft Boys

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1
I Wanna Destroy You
00:02:53

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2011 Universal Music

2
Kingdom of Love
00:04:09

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2011 Universal Music

3
Positive Vibrations
00:03:10

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

4
I Got the Hots
00:04:43

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

5
Insanely Jealous of You
00:04:15

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

6
Tonight
00:03:44

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

7
You'll Have to Go Sideways
00:02:57

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Robyn Hitchcock, Kimberly Rew, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

8
Old Pervert
00:03:52

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Robyn Hitchcock, Kimberly Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

9
Queen of Eyes
00:02:01

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

10
Underwater Moonlight
00:04:16

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

11
He's a Reptile
00:04:28

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

12
Vegetable Man
00:02:59

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

13
Strange
00:03:00

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

14
Only the Stones Remain
00:02:50

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Glowing Green Frog, MusicPublisher

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Glowing Green Frog

15
Where Are the Prawns
00:06:06

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

16
Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole
00:03:30

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

17
Dreams
00:04:38

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

18
Black Snake Diamond Rock
00:04:24

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

19
There's Nobody Like You
00:03:11

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

20
Song #4
00:04:37

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

21
Empty Girl
00:04:59

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

22
Have a Heart Betty (Mark 2)
00:02:37

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

23
Rock 'n' Roll Toilet (Mark 2)
00:02:43

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

24
Old Pervert (Section 1)
00:01:40

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

25
Like a Real Smoothie
00:03:44

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

26
Alien
00:03:14

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

27
Bloat (Extract)
00:01:03

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

28
Underwater Moonlight (Early Version)
00:06:28

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

29
She Wears My Hair
00:06:03

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

30
Wang Dang Pig
00:03:56

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

31
Old Pervert (Section 2)
00:01:31

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

32
Insanely Jealous
00:05:03

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

33
Leave Me Alone
00:06:46

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

34
Goodbye Maurice or Steve
00:03:15

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

35
Old Pervert (Section 3)
00:00:37

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

36
Cherries
00:02:55

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

37
Amputated
00:06:12

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

38
Over You
00:04:01

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

39
I Wanna, Er
00:03:45

Robyn Hitchcock, Composer - Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

40
Old Pervert (Section 4)
00:01:24

Universal Music Publishing, MusicPublisher - The Soft Boys, MainArtist - Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor, Composer

2010 Robyn Hitchcock 2010 Universal Music Publishing

Album Description

After recording the material that would later comprise the bulk of Invisible Hits, the Soft Boys recorded their masterpiece, the shimmering neo-psychedelic Underwater Moonlight. Essentially, the band didn't change their style for the record -- they merely perfected it. The Soft Boys don't hide their influences -- whether its the ringing guitars of the Beatles and Byrds or the surreal humor of John Lennon and Syd Barrett -- but they assimilate them, resulting in a fresh, edgy take on '60s guitar pop. Robyn Hitchcock's subject matter tends to be more explicitly weird and absurdist than his influences, as titles like "I Wanna Destroy You," "Old Pervert," and "Queen of Eyes" indicate -- even "Kingdom of Love" equates romance to bugs crawling under your skin. But the lyrics aren't the only thing that are edgy -- the music is too. The Soft Boys play pop hooks as if they were punk rock. "I Wanna Destroy You" isn't overtly threatening like their post-punk contemporaries, but with its layered guitar hooks and dissonant harmonies, it is equally menacing. Furthermore, the group can twist its songs inside out and then revert them to their original form, as evidenced by "Insanely Jealous." Although the neo-psychedelic flourishes are fascinating, the key to record's success is how each song is constructed around rock-solid hooks and melodies that instantly work their way into the subconscious. In fact, that's the most notable thing about Underwater Moonlight -- it updates jangling, melodic guitar pop for the post-punk world, which made it a touchstone for much of the underground pop of the mid-'80s, particularly R.E.M.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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