The Soft Boys “Underwater Moonlight”
While we’re a little ahead of the era, I’d like to throw in this post-70’s classic from The Soft Boys. Full of great songs, that get to you slowly, and jangly guitars, Underwater Moonlight is their masterpiece 2nd record and (excuse my indulgence) it fucking rocks.
First off, any album that opens with I Wanna Destroy You would make the cut any day. A serious blast from the speakers and dual guitars stabbing all over the place, a great harmony line sings the title, but Robyn Hitchcock says the “You” part with an ‘F off’ sensibility, and thus bridges the gap between The Byrds and punk rock. By Kingdom of Love, we’re in for the ride. It may take a few listens to get used to these tracks, but they will become anthems to you; each track on Underwater Moonlight is a treat. There are Television-like bass and guitar runs, breakdowns and some gnarly licks like in the bluesy I Got The Hots. Lyrically, Underwater Moonlight is extremely weird and surrealist. Take this bit from Got The Hots for example: “When you see her your eyes awake, electric bulbs on a birthday cake. Would you care for a lump of steak?” But the lyrics never sound dumb and they won’t embarrass you, just don’t try figuring them out.
Insanely Jealous is a powerhouse track with an almost 80’s dance beat sound to its pulsating high-hat pinching rhythm. Tonight and the surf-inspired instrumental workout, You’ll Have To Go Sideways are personal favorites and Old Pervert beats with intense authority, showing some Capt. Beefheart influence. It’s an album that will slowly work its way into your psyche and eventually become a simple classic.
The 2001 Matador re-release includes a 2nd disc chronicling the rehearsal takes leading up to Underwater Moonlight. These are not throw-away tracks by any means (especially Only The Stones Remain) and it’s a beautiful reissue. This may not mean much to you, but this is an album that I carried around with me for a whole summer, dinging up the case, dripping paint on it somehow, and making it all the more VG+++ in my mind.