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The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight (And how it got there) (Reissue, 2001)

En 2001, una conocida discográfica independiente reeditó el influyente Underwater Moonlight (1980), añadiéndole un Cd extra con cantidad de rarezas, tomas alternativas y temas inéditos. Éste es el enlace para ese segundo disco. El complemento al post del pasado sábado.

The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight (And how it got there) (Reissue, 2001)

16 octubre, 2010 Posted by | The Soft Boys | Deja un comentario

The Soft Boys: The Queen of Eyes (from Underwater Moonlight, 1980)

10 octubre, 2010 Posted by | The Soft Boys | Deja un comentario

The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight (1980)

 

En 1976, en los albores del nacimiento del Punk, un chico de Cambridge llamado Robyn Hitchcock había reclutado a unos amigos músicos de su ciudad para formar su banda: Alan Davies, Andy Metcalfe y Morris Windsor formaron un combo llamado Dennis and The Experts, nombre que pronto cambiarían puesto que ninguno de ellos se llamaba Dennis. Davies dejaría pronto el grupo y sería reemplazado por Kimberly Rew a las guitarras. Pronto registraron sus primeras grabaciones (Give it to The Soft Boys), el cual no se toma estrictamente como un disco oficial -fue grabado en el salón de la casa de Hitchcock-; y dieron forma a un single: (I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp, al que posteriormente seguiría su primer disco: A can of bees (1979). Tras su edición, Metcalfe abandonaría la banda y fue sustituido por Matthew Selingman, con quienes establecieron la formación definitiva y grabarían su obra maestra, este Underwater Moonlight (1981), el cual representó, además, su canto del cisne, ya que el grupo decidió disolverse y todo lo que se editó posteriormente fue material póstumo: Two halves for the price of one (Ep, 1981) y Wading trough a ventilator (1984).
Underwater Moonlight es un disco especialmente influyente ya que supuso una especie de renovación sonora en el Reino Unido, ya que mientras que las mayoría de las bandas se decantaban por la simpleza de los tres acordes del Punk, o lo hacían por lo que se dio en llamar Power-Pop, The Soft Boys tiraron por la vía de enmedio, haciendo lo que podríamos llamar un Folk-Rock acelerado con ciertas influencias del Pop de siempre y por qué no mencionarlo, de ciertos toques de Psicodelia. Todo ello mezclado y ejecutado con la urgencia del Power-Pop, hacían de este álbum un disco absolutamente rompedor, que marcó estilo, y absolutamente recomendable, del primer al último tema, ya que los diez temas originales que lo componen, apenas dan tregua. I wanna destroy you parece que da idea al oyente de Underwater Moonlight de lo que va a pasar: acordes guitarreros que echan a arder los cimientos de Pop de entonces. Kingdom of Love es otro tema de raíz rockera y guitarras potentes. Positive vibrations es uno de los mejores momentos del disco, ofreciéndonos el potente estribillo de entrada en el tema -fórmula ampliamente utilizada en el Power-Pop-. I got the hots ofrece un ligero remanso de paz enmedio de tantos vatios de aceleración, un tema bluesy casi recitado. Insanely jealous enciende de nuevo la mecha de los vatios. Tonight es otro de los temazos del disco, en el que el clímax se consigue gradualmente hasta estallar en un estribillo brutal. You´ll have to go sideways es un instrumental y tiene otro riff de guitarra incendiario. Old pervert, comienza con una especie de parodia de algún riff de guitarra de Jimi Hendrix, y en él Hitchcock vuelca todo su sentido irónico del humor. The Queen of Eyes muestra la guitarra de doce cuerdas de Robyn Hitchcock majestuosa emulando los sonidos de sus admirados The Byrds, de quienes habían versioneado The Bells of Rhymney. Y el disco se cierra con la Powerpopera Underwater moonlight, en la que una vez más, el estribillo es un elemento diferenciador y absolutamente arrebatador. Es decir, la fórmula perfecta del Power-Pop unida a las huellas del Folk-Rock y la Psicodelia, reunidas en un solo tema. Esta edición se completa con algunos de los temas de 2 Halfs for the price of one, entre los que destacan He´s a reptile, Where are the prawns, la psicodélica Vegetable man de Syd Barrett y Only the stones remain, temazos que podrían haber sido incluidos en un hipotético tercer disco de The Soft Boys.

The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight (1980)

“If rock and roll is, as has always been said, the music of demonic teenage possession, of raving thugs and floozies possessed by illegal chemicals and their own lower extremities, then how come so much of it’s about being uncomfortable? Few rock songs have been written solely about the explosive, orgiastic joy of unbound pleasure. In fact, most deal with the stress, anxiety and loathing that results from a lack of contentedness. Even songs that do focus on satisfaction generally mention the stress, anxiety and loathing that results from too much of it. Boiled down to its essence, rock and roll isn’t about the wild pleasures of having a good time; it’s about– all together, now– stress, anxiety and loathing. With such a set of themes, the question becomes, “What are you supposed to do with this mess?”
No group has ever drawn a bead on this problem like the Soft Boys. Their definitive statement on the subject, Underwater Moonlight, taps into all the icky, oozing rage and fear that are necessary parts of adolescence, and, thus, the primary interests of its ideal audience. Thanks to both the roiling undercurrents of the music and the vague, paranoid rantings of singer/guitarist/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock, Underwater Moonlight sounds like a record by the nicest bar band in Freud’s crazed Id. And as an added bonus, the album’s not nearly as bleak and freaky as that description suggests. It’s the darkest, heaviest light pop album anyone’s ever made.
Freshly reissued by Matador, Underwater Moonlight presents the classic Soft Boys lineup– Hitchcock, guitarist Kimberly Rew, bassist Matthew Seligman, and drummer Morris Windsor– as the Band of the Avenging Dorks Who Can’t Get Laid. Though the bonus set of unreleased demos from the period certainly sweetens the deal, the real show here is all in the original LP. Playing honeyed pop songs with punk fury, the Soft Boys ran through tracks like “I Wanna Destroy You” at breakneck pace, all the while dishing up Byrdsy harmonies and jangling guitars.
Hitchcock, who came off like a fey, scarf-wearing art student in the middle of a psychopathic killing spree, slurred angst-ridden, surreal images about sex and death and loathing and rot and ruin, and the joy of it all. Take, for example, the throbbing “I Got the Hots,” the band’s endearing take on wooing: “Said the dentures to the peach/ Said the tide of filth to the bleach/ Said the spike to the tomato/ Said the curry to the corpse/ I got the hots for you.” Fun stuff, assuredly, but not exactly the make-out record of the year.
To somehow explain the weirdo menace of the production, liner-note writer David Fricke describes the circumstances of its creation. The album was made, apparently, under horribly stressful circumstances, with the band rehearsing in a humid little shack and recording under brutal low-tech conditions. Completely out of favor with the hipster record industry of the day, the band ended up initially releasing the thing themselves. That stress can be heard throughout the album: Rew knocks off genial pop riffs that conceal sharpened fangs; Seligman thumbs his bass like he’s auditioning for hell’s blues-rock band; and Hitchcock spits out stories about lamps and bugs and people who turn into animals. Anyone put off by the endearingly hippyish novelty act Hitchcock has become of late will be surprised to hear how genuinely monstrous he manages to sound on these sides.
Whereas a lot of new-wave and punk reissues end up disappointing due to the datedness of older band’s sounds, the Soft Boys seem more timeless than timed-out. Though they hardly sound of a piece with the art-rock of the modern day (no 20-minute, drum-and-bass instrumentals here, kids), they don’t really fit in anywhere else, either. Instead, their peculiar fusion of the sexy and the creepy exists in an odd little world of its own. Though there are certainly reference points shared with glam, punk and folk rock, the claustrophobic-but-bouncy attack Underwater Moonlight exhibits is another thing entirely. This is all that stress, anxiety and loathing percolating under every great rock song, and made to dance in front of the crowd.
In the end, of course, the power of the Soft Boys’ music remains intact largely because of their strangeness. Because nobody’s ever made a record that sounds exactly like this, or that even comes close to mining its depths of weird vigor, Underwater Moonlight ends up being that much more fascinating a listen. Turns out all that stress, anxiety and loathing are good for something after all” (pitchfork.com)

9 octubre, 2010 Posted by | The Soft Boys | Deja un comentario

   

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