Underwater Moonlight

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Underwater Moonlight
The Soft Boys-Underwater Moonlight (album cover).jpg
Studio album by The Soft Boys
Released 28 June 1980
Recorded January–June 1980 at Alaska and James Morgan studios, London; June 1979 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge, England
Genre Psychedelic rock, pop rock, post-punk
Length 36:00
Label Armageddon
Producer Pat Collier, Mike Kemp, Spaceward
The Soft Boys chronology
A Can of Bees
(1979)A Can of Bees1979
Underwater Moonlight

Underwater Moonlight is the second studio album by English rock band The Soft Boys, released on 28 June 1980 by record label Armageddon.

Initially unsuccessful, the album has gone on to be viewed as a psychedelic classic, influential on the development of the neo-psychedelia music genre[citation needed] 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.[1]


The album was recorded between January and June 1980 at Alaska and James Morgan studios, London,[2] and during June 1979 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge, England.[3] The London sessions were produced by Pat Collier and Mike Kemp, while the Cambridge sessions were produced by Spaceward Studios staff.[2] The recordings were done on 4- and 8-track, and only cost £600.


Underwater Moonlight was released 28 June 1980 by record label Armageddon.[4]

The album was initially unsuccessful commercially, especially in the UK, where over half the sales were exports to America.[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[6]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[7]
Entertainment WeeklyA[8]
Mojo5/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[12]
Uncut5/5 stars[15]

Bill Holdship of Rolling Stone, in his 2001 review, wrote that the album "offers modern listeners some great, great rock songs".[16] 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.[6]


Whilst commercially unsuccessful originally, Underwater Moonlight has gone on to be viewed as a one-off psychedelic classic.[4] 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.[16] According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, Underwater Moonlight "influenced the jangle pop of R.E.M. and other underground pop of the 1980s."[6]

It is included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks 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


The Soft Boys
Additional personnel
Technical personnel


  1. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  2. ^ a b The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition. Canongate Books. 1 November 2007. p. 450. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Spaceward Studios". spacewardstudios.ukf.net. Archived from the original on 6 December 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b Buckley, Peter, ed. (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 971. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  5. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 334. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Underwater Moonlight – The Soft Boys". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (23 February 1992). "Rating The Robyn Hitchcock Solo And Group Releases". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ Schinder, Scott (16 March 2001). "Underwater Moonlight -- And How It Got There". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  9. ^ "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Mojo (206): 122. January 2011.
  10. ^ Segal, Victoria (10 March 2001). "Soft Boys : Underwater Moonlight". NME. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  11. ^ Eccleston, Sam (31 March 2001). "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  12. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Soft Boys". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 757. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Perry, Andrew (November 1992). "The Soft Boys: Can of Bees / Underwater Moonlight / Invisible Hits". Select (29): 96.
  14. ^ Hultkrans, Andrew (December 2010). "Reissues". Spin. 26 (12): 92. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  15. ^ "The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight". Uncut (164). January 2011.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ LeMay, Matt (6 December 2010). "The Soft Boys: A Can of Bees / Underwater Moonlight | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  18. ^ 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2012.

External links[edit]