Reason #343 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Underwater Moonlight

underwaterThe nice thing about having a shitty year in new album releases is that it frees me up to explore little gems I missed the first time around. I have been familiar with the work of Robyn Hitchcock for some time now, and consider him on a par with Elvis Costello, Pat Fish and Joe Jackson. He is, without question, their peer. So how did the Soft Boys, Hitchcock’s first band, totally escape me? I don’t know, because for years I’ve read how their debut album, Underwater Moonlight, is one of the undisputed classics of the decade. I only very recently had a chance to listen to the thing in its entirety, and I have to say I am very impressed. Not as impressed as I was when I first heard Fegmania, say, but impressed nonetheless.

I think I would be more impressed had I come to this recording prior to hearing any Hitchcock solo efforts, or the records he made with the Egyptians, because the man sets the bar so damn high, know what I mean? But Underwater Moonlight is full of tasty pop treats, like I Wanna Destroy You, Tonight, and especially the title track. Hitchcock’s trademark bug fetish (lyrically speaking) makes its first appearance (that I know of), and this album is the one where his Beatles addiction is most obvious.