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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Underwater Moonlight

The Soft Boys

1980

Underwater Moonlight
Album Summary

Underwater Moonlight is the second studio album by English rock band The Soft Boys, released on 28 June 1980 by record label Armageddon. Initially unsuccessful, the album has gone on to be viewed as a psychedelic classic, influential on the development of the neo-psychedelia music genre and on a number of bands, especially R.E.M. It is included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Whilst commercially unsuccessful originally, Underwater Moonlight has gone on to be viewed as a one-off psychedelic classic. Matt LeMay of Pitchfork, in a 2010 review, felt that the album was commercially unsuccessful because the timing was wrong: at the time of its release, audiences had little interest in "music that incorporated the indelible harmonies of the Byrds and the surrealism of Syd Barrett", but that anyhow the album is "best considered with the benefit of hindsight, and for all the famous music it inspired, there is still nothing quite like Underwater Moonlight". In 2001, Bill Holdship of Rolling Stone wrote that the album's influences could be detected "on bands ranging from R.E.M. and The Replacements to The Stone Roses and the Pixies". According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, Underwater Moonlight "influenced the jangle pop of R.E.M. and other underground pop of the 1980s."

Wikipedia

Rating

3.04

Votes

9529
Genres
Rock
New Wave
Post Punk

Reviews

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Thu Apr 29 2021
5

I've listened to this and their debut at least once. But I mustn't have been paying attention the first time, because this is stellar. As it plays, you can hear the process punk and new wave being transmuted into what would become the lo-fi shambolic style of indie rock later in the 1980s. I love how they sound rough around the edges, without ever lacking in purpose or conviction. The whole thing is weird and fantastic. On another listen, I can also see the 1960s psychedelic influences coming through, which I hadn't really thought about before. If this group are a throwback to 1960s rock, they are actually improving on the original. I wouldn't change anything, so 5/5.

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Thu Nov 10 2022
5

“What if The Byrds were a punk rock band?” is probably not a question you’ve asked yourself. The good news is: the Soft Boys have already answered it for you…and it’s amazing. Underwater Moonlight is a whirling, psychedelic, punk masterpiece. The band here is unbelievably tight, with guitar interplay that outmatches nearly all of their contemporaries (The Feelies ‘Crazy Rhythms’ and Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ would be similar points of comparison) and a focused, yet off-kilter, sense of urgency to each song. Most importantly, the songwriting and construction here is great from start to finish. You have to “Give it to the Soft Boys” (that’s a deep cut for the Soft Boys fans in the house): Underwater Moonlight hits every mark it takes aim at. It’s one of the best, and possibly most overlooked, “punk” (or post-punk) albums of all time.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

I love Robyn Hitchcock and I love this album. Not sure if I like this album or his first solo album more but this is certainly RH in top form. His songwriting is so immediately identifiable. The lyrics are idiosyncratic and bizarre in such an entertaining and even a dazzling way. But the weirdness in no way feels forced. It feels entirely natural and just part of who he is. I love looking at the world through his eyes. Some of his word choices just amaze me. I also think the humor is balanced perfectly as a sort of undercurrent throughout the album. It never quite bubbles over into laugh out loud moments but you just sort of smile the whole time. He does everything with such a straight face you sort of believe he really is one of his own outlandish characters. Would feel like real capital "A" Art to me if it weren't so much damn fun. I really enjoy the updated psychedelic sound. Very lean and catchy. And his guitar playing is almost as iconic as his lyrics!

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Tue Jun 01 2021
2

seriously, another album where i wonder what makes it so special for it to be on this list. so many albums could have replaced this album. its not even "bad", its just so .... blah

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Sat Apr 24 2021
2

Walked away not remembering anything I’d listened to - all quite average stuff

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Thu May 27 2021
2

I listened to it but have forgotten everything. Can't have been that good.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
3

it was rly good but then i saw it was 40 songs and then i was like man was that necessary

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Mon May 31 2021
3

Ayy now we're back to the early 80s English post punk... This was good, if it had been just the regular album and maybe a couple of the bonus tracks that were enjoyable. The melodies were a little lighter and even funky at times, which I enjoyed. Unfortunately many of them were just repetitive hooks, rehearsals, and excerpts. But I'll rate it on the merit of the actual album.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
3

I mean, I have no idea what I've been listening to, but it's not bad? Didn't listen to all of the bonus tracks, as it takes to album to over two hours and I just don't have that kind of patience currently. I probably won't be listening again, but at least it was decent enough.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
3

Underwater Moonlight is a psych-rock with tones of influence from The Beatles, with note of the sitar throughout. Whilst they haven't had much commercial success, they have been credited as early influencers of the likes of REM. Best: I Wanna Destroy You Worst: Old Pervert NOTE: Spotify had ALL of the reissue tracks on the one album. I only listened to the original 10 songs off the album.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

Great New Wave - post punk psyc rock. Glad this came up!

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

Such a fun album! Great production and great songs.

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Tue May 18 2021
5

I knew I’d love this one from the first few chords! Perfectly walks the line between being weird and accessible. Way ahead of their time. Favorite tracks are “I Wanna Destroy You” and “Positive Vibrations”.

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Sat Jul 31 2021
5

Hugely influential on the early 90s British indie scene. Underrated at the time of its release but deserving of respect.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

Unbelievably good album. I’ll confess, I had no idea Robyn Hitchcock was involved with this band before listening this album. But it’s no surprise when the very first track is a hook-laden pop gem like “I Wanna Destroy You”. From there on out this album is an infectiously good listen brimming equally with the adrenaline rush of punk as with the surreal quirkiness of 60s psychedelia, all anchored by Hitchcock’s peerless pop sensibility. Even as the band quite openly flaunt their influences in every Byrds-like jangle or eccentric witticism, this album manages to sound completely modern. Even more than that, it actually represents the nexus between punk and jangle-pop which would dominate on college radio for the subsequent decade. I always thought that accolade belonged only to Pretenders’ debut, but this album has also stood the test of time. A surprise 5/5 from me… P.D. - Kimberley Rew’s guitar playing on this record is astonishingly good. Amazing record on all fronts.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
5

I had very low expectations going into this, and the actuality of this album is why I love this exercise so much. This album was awesome, and it took legitimately awesome instrumentation to bring out the psychedelic vibes here. This album will definitely be in my rotation going forward. Favorite track: You'll Have to Go Sideways

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Thu May 11 2023
5

The Soft Boys were named after me. As a child I was such a shy little thing, wouldn't say boo to a goose. The Soft Boys used to play rugby in the fields behind our house and one day they asked me to play. They beat the living daylights out of me that day. I was broken and bloodied. I could barely walk. The Soft Boys challenged me to get an erection and I couldn't. They admired that, quit playing rugby and formed a band.

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Thu Apr 06 2023
4

I’ve never heard of The Soft Boys before but they’re great. There’s a 60’s influence that runs deep in their music. The songwriting is excellent. “I Wanna Destroy You” stood out to me right away. And “Kingdom of Love” has some great lyrics about a poisonous love. “Insanely Jealous of You” caught me by surprise. The vocals reminded me of The Velvet Underground. The song has a dark, dangerous energy. “Old Pervert” has a rough, distorted guitar in it too. There are two sides to this band - the nostalgic 60’s side (“Queen of Eyes”) and the more experimental forward-thinking side you hear on these two tracks.

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Fri Apr 28 2023
4

This isn't half bad you know. Great energy, authentic, really good production, doesn't lean into the annoying aspects of the genre, doesn't outstay its welcome. A pleasant surprise.

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Fri Apr 28 2023
4

A highly enjoyable neo psychedelia album. It sounds like something from the late 1960s with a fresher sound. It's also clear how this album influenced the later neo psychedelic albums, even many bands in the 1990s. The songwriting and production are excellent. There are clear influences of The Beatles, The Byrds, Pink Floyd-Syd Barrett, even the Velvet Underground. Very good record. I've listened to it many years ago but I didn't remember it was this good.

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Thu May 11 2023
4

The reason The Viagra Boys exist. Well, I did not expect that. Thought it was going to be some 80s soft nonce music, but there you go. Well done.

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Sun Apr 04 2021
3

mediocre alt nice rock catchy punk nice yhyh but minus points cos it’s not good enough to be that long

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Fri Oct 29 2021
3

I listened to it once and was unimpressed. But something made me hold off on reviewing and listen to it another day. It got better, and I can see how it must have been an interesting crossroads between punk and 80s popular music, but I don't think there's really anything to return to after Track 1.

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Wed Nov 03 2021
3

After listening to this album, I don't think I see the similarities between classical and neo-psychedelic. This sounded like a standard UK rock album from the 80s more than any type of psychedelic genre album. Still not bad though. Fav song: kingdom of love

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Fri Nov 19 2021
3

Did not enjoy the first 4 songs. Then the album goes into a different direction. "Insanely Jealous of You" sounds like a Lou Reed/Velvet Underground song, I like it. The rest are just ok to me, I definitely hear some early proto-punk/Iggy pop-like structures on "He's a Reptile" as well. Beyond that, it's ok.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
3

Am I glad I listened to this? I suppose. Did I enjoy it? Maybe. Will I come back to it? Doubtful.

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Fri Jan 28 2022
3

Mixed bag for me, this. Very good guitar work throughout, but the vocals are putting me off. In the more melodic songs the harmonies sound quite dated, and I'm just not digging the loose style of the lead vocal in general. In summary, it just falls short of 4 stars.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
3

Heard this album about a year ago, don't care for it. Today, I'm thinking this is pretty great. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to hear it again. 3.5

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Wed May 03 2023
3

This was strange and different especially for 1980 so it was ahead of its time or 12 years too late? It's unique I'll give it that. I didn't stick around for 1.5 hours of bonus tracks though

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Fri Feb 19 2021
2

Remember them at the time and not bad, but now sounds like a pretty bad attempt at copying the psychedelic greats.

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Thu May 13 2021
2

I didn't listen to it completely because it was way too long, and the songs didn't catch my interest in order to spend 2 hours listening to them.

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Sun Oct 24 2021
2

I recognize a few of these songs from the 80s ie Underwater moonlight and I got the hots but they really didn’t do much for me back then and they certainly don’t excite me now either. Just not my jam, Waaay to long so I couldn’t get thru it all.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
2

Eh nothing special, in fact it's kind of bland. Has some pretty late 60s rock sound to it compared to when it was released. 5/10.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
2

Didnt like insanely jealous of you or old pervert.

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Sun Jan 30 2022
2

Although it does feel like it has this mix of The Byrds and Syd Barrett (that everybody talks about) as a major influence, the album never really pulls through and becomes very repetitive, very fast. It has some cool ideas, but they were already being executed by better post-punk bands.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
2

p455. 1980. 2 stars. The sound of musicians that were born 10 years too late and wish the 60s had never ended. This sounds like an album of 13th Floor Elevators, Byrds and Ziggy Stardust outtakes, only without the talent. Listening to it you'd have thought that punk never happened. Quite good guitar playing, though it frequently strays in 70s wankage. It's OK, but nothing special - no idea why this is on the list.

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Sun Jan 16 2022
1

Best Song: Insanely Jealous of You. An actually intense song that concludes in an interesting crescendo. Worst Song: I Got the Hots. Sounds like a sociopathic, wannabe cowboy learning how to play scales on guitar. Overall: Wholly boring, with the audacity to think I want to listen to 40 songs of very nearly the same song repeating. Would fit well in a book called "1001 Albums It's Totally Fine to Miss Before You Die."

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Very unique and an original style. The sound and lyrics were somewhat psychedelic. Really dug this one.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

i'm alive to listen to that kind of stuff. amazing

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

had me from the first track, just brilliant

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

Mix Syd Barrett with the Byrds and this is what you get: British psychedelic jangle pop with sixties influences. Great album! Discovered it 25 years or so after its release ..and for me, one of their best songs, "He's A Reptile" is part of the album ..but it is not: it was added in the reissue. The 10 original songs are strong enough to hold their own though and several of them are perfect examples of outstanding songwriting: 5 stars easily.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Right in my sweet spot, post punky power poppy with catchy choruses not trying to be anything it isn’t. Saved to the ol Spotify albums which is criteria for 5 stars

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Really enjoyed this one. It doesn't do anything revolutionary, but the tracks are all so catchy and memorable. Good bops

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Wed Jul 06 2022
5

Never heard of the soft boys before. This album is brilliant can see the VU influence on some of the songs. I love finding these albums Iv never heard and were never commercial success but influenced so much of the music I listen too.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

If you're not the kind of person who gets a kick out of the lyrics in Kingdom of Love, then it's going to be more difficult for us to become friends. I wanna destroy you, insanely jealous, queen of eyes, underwater moonlight, these are all total bangers. Hook it up and feed it directly into my veins. On a sidenote, I love all these innocent wet behind the ears types who somehow think this album is genuinely 44 songs long.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

favourite song: i got the hots least favourite song: you'll have to go sideways absolute fantastic album. robyn hitchcocks lyricism is engaging and funny throughout. lovely instrumentation. an album i already loved before this.

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Thu Dec 09 2021
5

månsken!!?🤨 under vattnet??!??!? så bra

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Fri Oct 14 2022
5

Meilleure découverte via ce site depuis Head Hunters de Herbie Hancock Prefs: I Wanna Destroy You, Positive Vibrations, Insanely Jealous, Tonight, You'll Have To Go Sideways, Queen of Eyes, Underwater Moonlight Moins pref: Kingdom of Love

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Great, well ahead of its time. Felt the influence on REM, as well as another band that completely escapes me. Another 1001 gem.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
5

A mix of Lou Reed, Mark E Smith, Gang Of Four and Beach Boys!

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Fri Apr 07 2023
5

These guys were ahead of their time.

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Fri May 26 2023
5

An extraordinary feat and a criminally underrated album that sounds like an all-time classic today. I didn't know who Robyn Hitchcock was before I used this app. Now I stand corrected. I have a pretty busy day today, and unfortunately, I can't write a proper review (I hope the creators of this great app could give us a way to amend or revise our reviews once we're done with the 1001 albums). But here are the words or phrases that would have appeared in said review from me: thrilling / melodic / "I Wanna Destroy You" is a powerful opener / incredible vocal harmonies / feels like an insant classic / the album starts on a very hight note, yet what's great about it is that its many other high notes are very different from that initial one / nonetheless, the whole thing stays cohesive / jangle pop / college rock / post-punk / hearkens back to great moments from the sixties / use of post-punk energy / foretells indie-rock from the nineties and later / perfect guitar lines, angular and yet strongly harmonic / sardonic-yet-often-tender lyrics / lots of specific references to past bands, yet their influence never feels "forced", it is totally "digested" by Hitchcock and co. Examples: Buffalo Springfield-Neil Young for "Kingdom Of Love" / The Beach Boys for "Positive Vibrations / The Cramps (or the early off-kilter rock that inspired them) for "I Got The Hots" / The Velvet Underground for "Insanely jealous Of You" (That viola and the tribute that it is to John Cale! That crazy vocal performance and its tribute to Lou Reed!) / Todd Rundgren or Big Star for "Tonight" / The Feelies or Television for "You'll Have To Go Sideways / Gang Of Four or Wire for "Old Pervert" / The Byrds for "Queen Of Eyes" / Closer "Underwater Moonlight" is a perfect gem / The best anthem about getting older ever written / Perfect, perfect LP / 5 stars Number of albums left to review: 548 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 218 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 105 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 131 Oh, by the way: I love how some people in here just can't read (or just click on one link): it's called BONUS TRACKS, you fools! Of course they're NOT gonna be up to the level of the proper album. That's why they weren't included in the first place! But what really takes the cake here is the reviewers who did notice that all those last cuts were bonus tracks, and yet still complain about them, and so give The Soft Boys less than a 4/5 grade as a result. I sometimes think there should be some some sort of "listener's licence" exam that should be taken before using this app... Naw, I'm just kidding, ha ha. But *still*. Guys (or gals). Get a grip. Please.

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Fri May 26 2023
5

An absolute classic of rock music, especially for the genre of acid punk. There are so many great songs on here that sound a bit like the Stranglers would do psychedelic rock with a little bit of Talking Heads. Definitely one of this gems everyone should listen to!

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Wed Jun 21 2023
5

Albums like this are why I love this project. The influence on college rock and lo-fi indie are clear. However, the Soft Boys expertly weave neo-psychedelic with jangly post-punk/new wave to create something with pop sensibilities that appeals to the more art for art's sake crowd. The influence by the Beatles and the Kinks can be heard throughout but are conveyed in a way that is understandable yet pushes the genre forward in a very interesting way that I would expect to hear ten years later.

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Mon Aug 21 2023
5

10/10 fucking iconic and underrated as hell

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Thu Aug 31 2023
5

Have had a soft spot for this album for a while now. Really enjoy the fusion of post-punk and psychedelia, and love the lyrics, though I can imagine the voice they're delivered in is pretty divisive. Fave track - "I Wanna Destroy You" has been a personal fave for a while now, but on this listen "Insanely Jealous" stole the limelight. Such great lines! The night is black and thick I wander past your window And I catch a cigarette thrown from a jewel encrusted hand It comes on pretty quick Exactly like a crocodille In search of a mirage across the undulating sand

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Wed Nov 01 2023
5

Wow, this is by far one the most outstanding records I found through the generator. Such a great band. It has everything I like

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Wed Nov 15 2023
5

I wanna destroy you I feel it coming on again Just like it did before They feed your pride with boredom And they lead you on to war The way you treat each other Really makes me feel ill Cause if you want to fight Then you're just dying to get killed I wanna destroy you Great album. Kind of retro hipster, but great despite that. 5/5

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Mon Nov 27 2023
5

RYM gives this album the genres "Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Punk, Jangle Pop." Kind of an all-over the place variety of genres, so it's just better to say this album sounds like 60s hippie pop given a little bit of early 80s punk energy. But that feels too slight of a description. This is a great pop album that somehow manages to foreshadow a lot of trends of the alternative 80s, being long before the trend of 60s nostalgia, Pixies-esque obsession of quiet-loud dynamics, and Johnny Marr's jangle maximizing the sound of the guitar. I Wanna Destroy You is a great opener and mission statement. Amidst jangle pop with a delicious twang, the singer belts out the title of the track. Kingdom of Love has a great interplay between the first calmer section of the chorus, and the second meaner section of the chorus. Positive Vibrations definitely brings the punk speed to the late 60s love songs a la Beach Boys, esp with the sitar sprinkled in. I Got the Hots sounds sleazy in an almost cute way, especially with that inversion of tone in the chorus, even ending out in a rocking tremolo. And Insanely Jealous of You builds up subtle tension, punctuated by a delicxious guitar, before the singer repeats the jealousy. All of these are just S-tier songs. Granted, the album doesn't always have killer songs hiding great ambition. Tonight is a bit more of a traditional love song. You'll Have To Go Sideways is another exercise in tension building, although this time it starts louder, and kinda stays that way. Old Pervert is another sleazy song, but a bit more punky. Queen of Eyes is a really pretty and almost romantic song, that's unfortunately a bit too short. Still, these are not bad songs, just A-tier songs which still showcase the great talent of the band. And all is again great with the closing title track of the album, carrying the romanticism of Queen of Eyes and fleshing it out with the track dynamics and build-up that The Soft Boys have shown in the previous tracks. A damn fine album with a effortless faux-psychedelic sound and swagger. Decent 5

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Wed Nov 29 2023
5

Just wow. I have heard of the Soft Boys but was never motivated enough to check them out, and I'm glad I did! Investigating further I've seen reviews that make such statements as "stone-cold classic of neo-retro-psychedelic jangle pop (src: Jive Time Records)" and I couldn't have said it better than that.

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

I didn't knew that band before and wow, it's pure genius. Power jangle pop meets post-punk with a little spicy psychedelia here and there. This record is now on my wantlist. Thank you, goodbye!

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Great album and one of the best things the 80s has to offer!

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

This album has everything I like about rock music in general. It's a wild ride where post-punk riffs, power pop melodies and jangle pop rhythms all coexists in this hazy production that boasts exuberance, a strange sexiness, youthful energy and... fun. Above all this is a fun album, the kind of album that you only want to hear really loud. Also Kingdom of Love is one of my favourite tracks of all-time.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

I am feeling this album. Glad I found out about them!

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Fri Feb 02 2024
5

A jam from start to finish. I loved it and want to listen again!

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Wed Dec 02 2020
4

First ever listen to this. Knew this band were highly influential, and you can hear why. In my opinion, lacks a truly knockout track, but it sounds great.

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Mon Oct 12 2020
4

I Wanna Destroy You and Insanely Jealous are pretty good songs.

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Wed Sep 23 2020
4

lots of really cool colorful stuff on here (opener is really good, queen of eyes feels like a beatles song but with jangly guitars) but unfortunately i cannot in good conscious give anything with "i got the hots" above an 8.

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Tue Oct 27 2020
4

Great album. Cheap Trick-ish, proto-REM by Robyn Hitchcock. The deluxe version more than doubles the original release, but they made a good choice with the songs they did. I Wanna Destroy You, the title track and the bonus track Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole are my favorites, but all here are quality tracks. Maybe with a little more time listening this could be a 5 star, but for now, it is a solid 4 star album.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Surprisingly good album, liked the sound a lot plus the songs were very catchy

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Mon Apr 19 2021
4

Another really neat album that just kind of came out of nowhere for me. Almost all of the songs are really catchy, and all of them are good 4/5

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

Schöne Brücke der späten 60er zu 80s underground

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Fri Mar 26 2021
4

Got a bit of a backlog to get through here since the weekend. Liked this, expected typical 80s synth pop but got rubber soul/revolver era Beatles instead

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

A 60s rock album in the 80s.... who knew?

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

Weird but I kinda love it? Some Beatlesy moments. 3.5 rounded up.

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Fri Mar 19 2021
4

Production: 7/20 Songwriting: 16/20 Innovation: 11/20 Bangers: 20/20 Emotional response: 15/20 =79 Very impressed by this - full of absolute bangers. And now I know who Robin Hitchcock it so I know who Michael Legg keeps offending!

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

A very good album. Several great songs.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

I like the sound, simple and catchy rock, kinda reminds me of The Beatles in a modern way

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Thu Feb 25 2021
4

Fun and wonderfully weird. Makes you want to move. Would be fun to run to.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

A pleasant surprise. Some ballsy tunes

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Liked this. Took a couple of listens and the 'extended' version isn't worth the hassle.

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

Enjoyed this a lot - listen again

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

never heard of them / this. Really enjoted it and reminded me why i'm doing this! 4.

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Mon Feb 15 2021
4

Brand new band for me! Great psyc/power/indie pop. Dark lyrics underneath jangly tracks. Great find. Best tracks: I Wanna Destroy You, Kingdom of Love, Queen of Eyes

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Mon Apr 12 2021
4

4/5 actually this was a solid album. And huge one too

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Never heard of them before but really enjoyed this album

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Thu Apr 29 2021
4

Fantastic album, psychedelic new wave, was not familiar with this band at all.

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

(Only listened to half) It was great :D

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Sat Apr 03 2021
4

this shit is fire as fuck , simple as

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Mon May 31 2021
4

A surprise 4 for me. I wasn't familiar with them but I definitely like. And that cover art is wonderful.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

I was late to this album - but then so was nearly everyone else. Now seen as highly influential and regarded, rightly, as a classic.

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