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The Soft Boys - Can of Bees/Underwater Moonlight

The Soft Boys

Can of Bees/Underwater Moonlight

180-gram LP reissues (Yep Rock)

As much cred as the legendary Cambridge, England, outfit the Soft Boys might get, it may never be enough. The band’s marriage of a “no rules” punk spirit and post-punk pragmatism to boundless psychedelic rock visions and melodic journeys would have proved enough of a legacy, had their bug never spread. It did, however, on both sides of the Atlantic, yielding children too many to name.

Still, for every name-check and for each one of those young bands in the last 30 years copping the sound the Soft Boys boldly charted, we now have worthy documents to properly rediscover what Robyn Hitchock, Kimberly Rew, Morris Windsor, and company were getting into. Newly remastered vinyl editions of the band’s two original albums bore into legacy with equal parts ferocity and pristine clarity. It’s important to note that these reissue albums were due in the fall of 2010, to coincide with the release of the CD/digital versions. Though ready to be pressed and shipped, they were held up because the band were unhappy with results and insisted that better sources be found. The resulting vinyl versions, cut from the “original sources,” are bright and richly detailed, and burst to life from the speakers. While A Can of Bees boasts a meandering, wide-eyed fire and whacked-out posturing—part Beefheart and part fellow Cambridge native Syd Barrett—as the core of its charm, the power within Underwater Moonlight is in its focus and cohesion, from the effervescent punk of “I Wanna Destroy You,” to the shimmering 1960s psych pop “The Queen of Eyes,” and on through the masterful elderly death-at-sea psychedelia of the title track.

donny kutzbach

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