Virgins and Philistines failed to gain a large audience due to difficulty in marketing an album with such a diverse sound—it mixes 1960s and early 1970s pop music with more acoustic based melodies and stringarrangements. The album is often regarded as the direct musical predecessor to the later work of The Lightning Seeds in the 1990s, whom Hall would later collaborate with in a songwriting role whilst providing occasional vocals.
Virgins and Philistines was released in April 1985 over a year after the group's first release. It charted at #12 on the UK Albums Chart and #28 on the New Zealand Album chart. It was preceded by three singles. The first, "Take", did not chart as highly as their début and only made #70 in the UK. The second single, "Thinking of You", was much better received and returned Hall to the top forty in the UK and Ireland, reaching #12 and #11 respectively. "Castles in the Air" was the final single and directly preceded the album, but it only managed #51.
The album was released in the US with different track listing including the band's self-titled début single. It also added the B-sides "I Can't Get Enough of You Baby", "Pushing Up the Daisies" and "Your Love Was Smashing". "Armchair Theatre" and "Yours Sincerely" were not included, but were later released in the US on the EP; The Colour Field.
In 1999, the album was re-released in Japan with twenty tracks, including all of the songs on the UK and US versions of the album plus all of the singles, B-Sides and remixes that were released before and immediately after the original release of Virgins And Philistines.
In 2010, the album was reissued once again, this new version was released by Cherry Red and it included most of the bonus tracks of the 1999 version.