Underwater Moonlight is the second studio album by English rock band the Soft Boys, released in June 1980 by record label Armageddon.

Underwater Moonlight
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 1980
RecordedJune 1979 – June 1980
  • Pat Collier
  • Spaceward
The Soft Boys chronology
A Can of Bees
Underwater Moonlight
Invisible Hits

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.[7]

Recording edit

The album was recorded during June 1979 at Spaceward Studios in Cambridge,[8] and between January and June 1980 at the Alaska and James Morgan studios in London,[9] The London sessions were produced by Pat Collier, while the Cambridge sessions were produced by Spaceward Studios staff.[9] The recordings were done on 4- and 8-track, and only cost £600.

Release edit

Underwater Moonlight was released in June 1980 by Armageddon Records.[10]

The album was initially unsuccessful commercially, especially in the United Kingdom, where over half the sales were exports to America.[11]

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [12]
Chicago Tribune    [13]
Entertainment WeeklyA[14]
Mojo     [15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [18]
Uncut     [21]

Bill Holdship of Rolling Stone, in his 2001 review, wrote that the album "offers modern listeners some great, great rock songs".[22] In his retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, writing for AllMusic, felt that the music on the album showed the influence of the Beatles, the Byrds and Syd Barrett.[12]

Legacy edit

Whilst commercially unsuccessful originally, Underwater Moonlight has gone on to be viewed as a one-off psychedelic classic.[10] 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".[17] 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".[22] According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, Underwater Moonlight "influenced the jangle pop of R.E.M. and other underground pop of the 1980s."[12]

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Robyn Hitchcock, except as noted

Side A
1."I Wanna Destroy You"2:52
2."Kingdom of Love"4:10
3."Positive Vibrations"3:10
4."I Got the Hots"4:42
5."Insanely Jealous"4:15
Side B
1."Tonight" 3:44
2."You'll Have to Go Sideways"Hitchcock, Kimberley Rew2:57
3."Old Pervert"Hitchcock, Rew, Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor3:52
4."Queen of Eyes" 2:01
5."Underwater Moonlight" 4:17
Reissue bonus tracks: Album outtakes
11."He's a Reptile" (from Invisible Hits album, 1983; not included on the 1990 Glass Fish and 1992 Rykodisc CDs) 4:27
12."Vegetable Man" (from Canadian and German editions of Underwater Moonlight, 1980; Near the Soft Boys EP, 1980)Syd Barrett2:59
13."Strange" (from German edition of Underwater Moonlight, 1980; Near the Soft Boys) 2:59
14."Only the Stones Remain" (from Two Halves for the Price of One album, 1981) 2:50
15."Where Are the Prawns?" (from Two Halves for the Price of One) 6:06
16."Dreams" (from Underwater Moonlight 1990 reissue) 4:37
17."Black Snake Diamond Rock" (from Two Halves for the Price of One) 4:24
18."There's Nobody Like You" (from Two Halves for the Price of One) 3:11
19."Song #4" (single B-side, 1983) 4:35
Matador reissue bonus disc: ... And How It Got There
1."Old Pervert – Section 1"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor1:38
2."Like a Real Smoothie" 3:43
3."Alien" 3:13
4."Bloat (Extract)"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor1:00
5."Underwater Moonlight" 6:24
6."She Wears My Hair" 5:22
7."Wang Dang Pig" 3:56
8."Old Pervert – Section 2"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor1:31
9."Insanely Jealous" 5:03
10."Leave Me Alone"Lou Reed6:45
11."Goodbye Maurice or Steve" 3:14
12."Old Pervert – Section 3"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor0:36
13."Cherries"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor2:54
14."Amputated" 4:22
15."Over You"Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera4:00
16."I Wanna, Er ... (Extract)"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor0:42
17."Old Pervert – Section 4"Hitchcock, Rew, Seligman, Windsor1:24

All the tracks on this disc were taken from rehearsal recordings.

Matador 3-LP reissue bonus 7" single
1."Innocent Boy" (Studio outtake)Hitchcock, Martin Stanway-Mayers 
2."Zip-Zip" (Recorded live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 1980)James A. Smith 
3."Astronomy Domine" (Recorded live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 1980)Barrett 

Personnel edit

Credits adapted from the 2001 Matador reissue liner notes.[23]

The Soft Boys
Additional personnel
Technical personnel
  • Pat Collier – production (1–3, 5, 6, 8–10, 12–18), engineering (1, 8, 12–18)
  • James Morgan – engineering (2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10)
  • Mike Kemp – production, engineering[24] (4, 7, 11, 19)
  • The Soft Boys – production (4, 7, 11, 19)
Production notes
  • Disc 1: tracks 4, 7, 11, 19 recorded June 1979 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge; all other tracks, except track 14, recorded January–June 1980 at Alaska and James Morgan studios, London; track 14 recorded July 1980 at Alaska, London
  • Disc 2: rehearsals taped on a boombox or recorded on a two-track machine at the Cambridge Rowing Club Boathouse, September 1979–July 1980

References edit

  1. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2008). The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard. Rough Guides. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-84836-003-7.
  2. ^ Ciabattoni, Steve (May–June 2001). "Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". CMJ New Music Monthly. No. 93. p. 90. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  3. ^ "The 50 Best New Wave Albums". Paste. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  4. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 21 November 2002. p. 4. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Denise. "Robyn Hitchcock Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  6. ^ Segretto, Mike (2022). "1980". 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute - A Critical Trip Through the Rock LP Era, 1955–1999. Backbeat. p. 385. ISBN 9781493064601.
  7. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. ISBN 9781844037148. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Spaceward Studios". spacewardstudios.ukf.net. Archived from the original on 6 December 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b The Mojo Collection (4th ed.). Canongate Books. 2007. p. 450. ISBN 9781847676436. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b Buckley, Peter, ed. (2003). "The Soft Boys". The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 971. ISBN 9781858284576. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  11. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 334. ISBN 9780634055485. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Underwater Moonlight – The Soft Boys". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  13. ^ Kot, Greg (23 February 1992). "Rating The Robyn Hitchcock Solo And Group Releases". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  14. ^ Schinder, Scott (16 March 2001). "Underwater Moonlight -- And How It Got There". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  15. ^ "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Mojo. No. 206. January 2011. p. 122.
  16. ^ Segal, Victoria (10 March 2001). "Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". NME. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  17. ^ a b LeMay, Matt (6 December 2010). "The Soft Boys: A Can of Bees / Underwater Moonlight". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  18. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Soft Boys". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 757. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  19. ^ Perry, Andrew (November 1992). "The Soft Boys: Can of Bees / Underwater Moonlight / Invisible Hits". Select. No. 29. p. 96.
  20. ^ Hultkrans, Andrew (December 2010). "Reissues". Spin. Vol. 26, no. 12. p. 92. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  21. ^ "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Uncut. No. 164. January 2011.
  22. ^ a b Holdship, Bill (13 March 2001). "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  23. ^ Underwater Moonlight (liner notes). The Soft Boys (reissue ed.). Matador Records. 2001. OLE 500-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  24. ^ "Spaceward Studios – Discography". Spaceward.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2018.

External links edit